Sunday

16th Jun 2019

Turkey urges EU not to break off ties

  • Human Rights Watch said in a report there was "evidence of … serious abuse in detention" (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey has said it wants to maintain EU accession talks, as foreign ministers and leaders meet to discuss its human rights crisis.

"We are determined to maintain this process [EU accession talks] regardless of all obstacles. We do not have any intentions to withdraw our bid", Bekir Bozdag, a Turkish deputy PM, said while on a visit to Strasbourg, France, on Sunday (15 October), the Reuters news agency reported.

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

  • Erdogan hammered the EU in Ankara on Friday (Photo: Flickr)

"Turkey will strengthen the EU, and gain strength after being granted full EU membership," he added.

"We have been striving for this membership since 1960 … Are there any other countries that have waited [so long] at EU's door? No," he said.

Mehmet Simsek, another deputy PM, also met with EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici in the margins of a G20 event in Washington on Friday.

"Nice catching up with my friend," Simsek tweeted later. "Useful discussion with @memetsimsek about the situation in Turkey and relations with the EU," Moscovici said.

The Turkish diplomacy comes as EU foreign ministers, on Monday, and later EU leaders, on Thursday, prepare to discuss future relations.

That "situation in Turkey" has seen Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan jail thousands of opponents, including EU nationals, amid reports of torture, and allegations of political hostage-taking.

"We have very many cases of people who in our opinion have been unjustly imprisoned," German chancellor Angela Merkel said in a podcast on Saturday.

She voiced "great concern" over the events.

She had said during German elections last month she would call to end Turkey's EU bid.

But she mellowed her tone on Saturday, adding: "We [EU leaders] will certainly not take any decision [at Thursday's summit], but I would like to listen to the views of my colleagues on bilateral relations with Turkey".

Red Notice

Erdogan has also gone after his opponents in EU states by filing Red Notices for extradition at the International police agency, Interpol.

That campaign suffered a blow last week, when Spain declined to hand over a Turkish-German dissident and writer, Dogan Akhanli, whom Turkey wanted on terrorism charges.

But the crackdown continued at home, with Turkish authorities issuing arrest warrants for 100 former police officers accused of plotting against Erdogan.

Turkey has put more than 50,000 people behind bars since a failed coup last July.

They include over 120 journalists as well as human rights defenders, such as Idil Eser, the director for British charity Amnesty International in Turkey, who risks 15 years in prison.

The New York-based NGO, Human Rights Watch, said in a report that there was "evidence of … serious abuse in detention, involving scores of individuals".

It spoke of "allegations that police severely beat and threatened detainees, stripped them naked, and in some cases threatened them with sexual assault or sexually assaulted them".

EU leaders should "publicly call for full investigations into reported cases of torture and ill-treatment in detention and of enforced disappearances", the NGO said.

Draft conclusions

EU leaders are expected to discuss whether to cut Turkey's €4 billion in EU pre-accession funds up to 2020.

But a version of the draft summit conclusions, dated 9 October, said the EU was still interested in keeping its deal with Turkey on stopping Syrian refugees from going to Greece.

The leaders will agree "to consolidate and deepen this approach on all migration routes", the text said.

They will voice "continued full commitment to our cooperation with Turkey on migration as well as support to the Western Balkans", it added.

The Turkish overture, by Bozdag in Strasbourg, followed more fiery words by Erdogan himself last Friday.

"They [the EU] are still wasting our time [in accession talks]. It is not us but rather you who are going to run away from this [wrestling mat]," he said on TV in Ankara.

"If you are sincere, make a statement and let's finish this [process]. We do not need you. There is a formula of mutual needs," he said.

'I thought I was safe in Europe'

Arrest of Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

EU summit shifts mood on Turkey amid aid cuts

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us