Friday

17th Sep 2021

MEPs back Armenia genocide clause in Turkey report

Turkey should recognize the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession, MEPs argue in a highly critical report adopted by a broad majority in Strasbourg on Monday (4 September).

The parliamentarians in the foreign affairs committee strongly criticised Turkey's slow pace on reforms and urged clear progress in solving the Cyprus issue.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They stressed that the next step in the country's membership talks "will have to depend" on its pre-accession talks committments "including a comprehensive settlement of border disputes and a comprehensive settlement regarding Cyprus."

The report by Dutch centre-right MEP Camiel Eurlings sparked a huge discussion in the prominent committee with over 300 amendments filed, but deputies from the biggest groups reached a compromise with a slightly less strict wording on several issues ahead of yesterday's vote.

The re-drafted document - to be voted on in plenary three weeks from now - highlighted some positive aspects of Turkey's performance en route to the EU - such as opening the first chapter of EU legislation, introducing new laws to fight corruption and broadcasting in Kurdish.

However, it insisted on "persistent shortcomings" in sensitive areas such as freedom of expression, religious, minority and women's rights as well as civil-military relations.

"We could see a clear delay of reforms in Turkey which was reflected in the report – I hope the Turkish authorities will now take our message on board," Mr Eurlings told EUobserver after the vote.

"We wouldn't help the country by hiding the truth," he added.

Some deputies expressed their concerns over the impact of the strong language in the parliament's annual evaluation – ahead of the European Commission's report on Ankara due on 24 October.

"Being a hero in Strasbourg is easy but will this report as it is written actually help Turkey's real reformers? No, it will make their life and work harder," argued German Green deputy Cem Ozdemir.

Armenia divisive

Dutch Socialist member Jan Marinus Wiersma commented that a compromise text backed by the committee "is more positive than the original proposal, but I'm afraid that the call for recognition of genocide of Armenians will attract the most attention in Turkey."

"This issue has so far not been specified as one of the formal criteria so to suggest that it is a 'prerequisite' for Turkey's accession is bound to spark controversy," he added.

British liberal deputy Andrew Duff also criticised the suggestion - filed by the Belgian socialist MEP Veronique de Keyser - as "very bad, uniting the far right and far left forces in the parliament."

He also pointed out that the parliament's foreign affairs committee should have expressed "greater appreciation of Turkey's contribution to the foreign policy and security initiatives that the EU is also involved in."

Turkey's parliament is set to vote on Tuesday on the government's proposal to send troops to Lebanon as part of the UN peace-keeping force, with prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging deputies to join European countries in the mission.

MEPs prepare critical report on Turkey

Almost a year after Turkey officially opened EU membership talks with Brussels, MEPs are preparing a report strongly critical of the country's progress on human rights issues.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal

Spain would be prepared to recognise Kosovo if it clinched a deal with Serbia, Madrid has said, in the first positive signal of its kind since EU-brokered talks resumed.

Kosovo to restart EU/US-led Serbia talks

Restarting talks on Serbia relations will be the new Kosovo prime minister's top priority, he said, but will the EU or the US lead the process?

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria's president appoints interim government
  2. Navalny poised to win EU human rights prize
  3. Poland will not leave EU, says Kaczyński
  4. Eurozone wages fall for first time in a decade
  5. Israel joins EU digital Covid-certificate programme
  6. Johnson reshuffles UK cabinet: new foreign minister
  7. Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara
  8. Finance minister tipped to become Sweden's first female PM

Opinion

Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen issues rallying cry for more EU sovereignty
  2. Von der Leyen doubles up on vaccine-donation pledge
  3. Why won't EU forces fight together, von der Leyen asks?
  4. EU pitches infrastructure investment plan to rival China
  5. EU diplomats oppose common forest-monitoring rules
  6. EU 'stands by Afghans' but wants most kept away
  7. Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy
  8. Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us