Tuesday

22nd May 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).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

News in Brief

  1. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  2. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  3. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  4. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  5. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  6. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  7. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  8. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  2. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  3. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  4. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  5. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  6. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  7. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  8. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  5. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  7. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  8. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight