: Migration should not be linked with Turkey-EU accession

On Cyprus, the committee members welcomed “the considerable progress made in the Cyprus reunification talks,” pledged support for the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality between the two communities and equal opportunities for all its citizens, and urged both parties to implement all agreed measures without further delay.

The MEPs are concerned by the backtracking in the internal justice and rule of law and consequently “urge Turkey to act against intimidation of journalists in all its forms, condemn its violent and illegal take-over of several newspapers and highlight its serious backsliding, over the past two years, on freedom of speech, expression and opinion, both on-line and off-line”.

“The overall pace of reforms in Turkey has not only slowed down but in some key areas, such as freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary, there has been a regression, which is particularly worrying”, said rapporteur Kati Piri (S and D, NL). In this resolution “we also express our concern about the escalation of violence in the south east of Turkey, which caused almost 400,000 people to leave their houses”, she added.

“To match the EU’s commitment to the rule of law, fundamental values and freedoms, which are core European values, reforms of the judiciary, justice, freedom and security are urgently needed in Turkey”, said the text.

They also called for an “immediate ceasefire in south east Turkey and the resumption of the peace process”. They urged the Turkish government to shoulder its responsibility to resume negotiations for a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the Kurdish issue. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), should lay down its arms, abandon terrorist tactics and use peaceful and legal means to voice its expectations, they added.

On the migration issue, the members of the committee praise Turkey for hosting the largest refugee population in the world, and noted that it remains a “key strategic partner for the EU” but nonetheless called for progress on rule of law and fundamental values and “a more structured and frequent political dialogue, on key thematic issues”.

Source: NNN