Tuesday

17th Jul 2018

MEPs say Turkish president undermines democracy

MEPs have accused Turkish politicians of undermining the rule of law by stripping the immunity of 138 MPs who are under investigation, in a move that could result in prosecution for parliamentarians critical of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In their first debate on the issue on Wednesday (8 June), MEPs from all political groups criticised the Turkish authorities and accused Erdogan of trying to "silence the opposition and grab more powers".

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.

... our join as a group

During the debate, with the EU neighbourhood commissioner Johannes Hahn, they called on Turkey to respect the rule of law and freedom of expression and to protect minority rights.

Centre-right MEP Renate Sommer said Turkey was now becoming a "presidential dictatorship". Gabi Zimmer, leader of the leftist GUE group, said she was "flabbergasted that it is possible in Europe to create such a climate of fear and intimidation".

The immunity of the MPs was lifted on 20 May through a reform of the constitution adopted by a parliament dominated by Erdogan's supporters. As a consequence, 138 MPs including 50 deputies from the pro-Kurdish HDP party could be prosecuted for criticising Erdogan or charged with supporting terrorism.

Erdogan signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

On 20 May, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said the vote was "a blow to Turkish democracy and political freedom". He added that "the gulf with European norms and values is widening".

Speaking to MEPs on Wednesday, commissioner Hahn said lifting immunity should be "based on transparent criteria, not political considerations".

He said that the rule of law was the basis of Turkey's political and economic progress and asked Erdogan to show whether he was "serious or not" in wanting to bring his country closer to Europe.

EP stops work on Turkey visa waiver

The EU parliament has stopped all work on the commission's plan to lift visas for Turkish nationals. The move could spell the end of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

Opinion

How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

The suggestion that Russians themselves play a role in the condition of their state today is often dismissed as "xenophobic" or "Russophobic". But if not addressed, the evils of nationalism, chauvinism, and imperialism will continue even after Putin is gone.

Opinion

Will EU suspend trade deal with Cambodia?

The EU has been slow to react to the collapse of Cambodian democracy - but if it ever chooses to use it, Brussels has substantial influence and leverage over Cambodia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Putin asks Trump to go after British activist
  2. May caves in to Brexiteer demands, risking 'no deal'
  3. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  4. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  5. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  6. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  7. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  8. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us