Wednesday

26th Sep 2018

Top Turkey MEP urges talks with Erdogan on accession

  • MEP Kati Piri will present her annual report on Turkey next week. (Photo: European Parliament)

The MEP and rapporteur on Turkey has called for EU leaders to meet with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ask if his country still wants to join the European club in the wake of a referendum that gave him massive powers.

"EU and Turkish relations are at their lowest point ever, it would have been timely for EU leaders to call for a meeting with the Turkish government, and ask them where do they want to go with the accession," Kati Piri told EUobserver on Wednesday (19 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Invite him [Erdogan] to Brussels and ask him what he wants," Piri said. "We have to be able to sit down and talk, even if it won't be a pleasant talk."

The European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey said the European Commission's call on Turkey to investigate reported fraud and irregularities during the referendum was "the least" the EU executive could do.

International observers said on Monday the Turkish referendum did not meet international standards, and the opposition did not have equal campaign opportunities.

Opposition parties in Turkey challenged the result, while the parliament in Ankara agreed on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency for three months, allowing the government to rule by decree.

Redirect funds

Officially, 48.6 percent of Turk voters rejected the constitutional amendments that give Erdogan control over the parliament, judiciary and ministries, and could keep him in power for life.

Piri said one way the EU could continue to support the Turkish people was by redirecting the country's annual €600 million pre-accession funds toward helping civil society exist, or journalists who are out of work because of Erdogan's crackdown on the media.

She argued that the funds should be converted and concentrated on those who share European values and are now under "tremendous pressure".

She also argued for increasing people-to-people contact, for instance through the Erasmus+ education program.

Piri added that the European Commission could suspend the funds altogether if Turkey did not meet the so-called Copenhagen criteria on rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy.

The commission, however, has said the pre-accession funds were not put into question following the controversial referendum.

"This is a well-established track with very specific conditions, we do not improvise," the EU executive spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday.

Migration stalemate

Piri said that the 2016 migrant deal between the EU and Turkey was not threatened by the referendum and its consequences, even though any cooperation with Turkey is "very tense".

She said that neither side has an interest in annulling the deal.

Erdogan has been threatening to call off the deal, which calls for Ankara to crack down on migrant smugglers and provide care and shelter for almost 3 million asylum seekers on its territory in exchange for €6 billion in EU aid aimed at helping migrants.

"The migration deal is the biggest card Erdogan has in his hands against the EU, he is not the sort of politician who gives up cards," Piri said.

The Social-democrat Dutch MEP regretted, however, that the EU has not been vocal enough on Turkey's backsliding on democracy since it made the deal on migration with Ankara in 2016.

"I am not saying we can't make a migration deal, but it cannot come at the expense of what is happening now in Turkey," she said. "Just staying silent won't help."

The European Parliament will debate next week the latest developments in Turkey.

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

Turkish referendum pivotal for EU relations

The outcome of the upcoming Turkish referendum, which would grant president Erdogan sweeping new powers, is almost too close to call. The result will have a huge impact on EU-Turkey relations.

Erdogan signals new era in EU relations

Turkish leader dismissed international critics and spoke of reinstating death penalty after referendum win, signalling new era in EU relations.

Opinion

Rethinking Europe's relationship with Turkey

As Turkey's democracy is in an increasingly troubled state, a new association agreement with the country should replace the current EU accession talks.

Agenda

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

News in Brief

  1. UK opposition demand election if parliament rejects Brexit plan
  2. EU to have coordinated plan on AI by December
  3. No UK election before Brexit, says May
  4. Former French PM wants to be mayor of Barcelona
  5. Merkel's wingman in surprise defeat in internal party vote
  6. Orban sends thank-you letters to supportive MEPs
  7. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  8. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU to ban individuals on chemical weapons
  2. World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US
  3. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  4. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  5. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  6. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  7. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  8. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us