ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A planned visit to Turkey by a European Union delegation of top diplomats and lawmakers was canceled on Wednesday over Turkish insistence to choose who should be in the delegation.
A press release by the European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz revealed Turkey tried to block at least one member of the delegation which was to meet the opposition.
The EU delegation was to be headed by the Chairman of EP Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok and EP’s rapporteur on Turkey Kati Piri.
Piri has come under fire lately from the Turkish government because of her calling for a freeze of EU’s accession talks with Ankara.
She had also strongly criticized the latest wave of arrests and imprisonment targeting journalists and Kurdish politicians.
President Schulz said the visit to Ankara was postponed in agreement with MEPs Brok and Piri to “a later date due to the disagreement with Turkish authorities on the format of the meetings.”
“The European Parliament is keen to dialogue frankly, openly and in good faith with Turkish authorities,” read Schulz’ statement.
“For dialogue to happen, a precondition is to accept the autonomy and independence of your interlocutor,” the statement continued.
“Mr. Brok and Ms. Piri represent the European Parliament and we cannot allow to have a pick-and-choose approach on who speaks to whom,” the statement added, calling on Turkish authorities to respect EP’s prerogatives.
Schulz, who over the weekend said the EU would consider imposing economic sanctions on Turkey if the crackdown on media and Kurdish opposition continued, described the dialogue between Brussels and Ankara as “faltering.”
EP’s Schulz on Monday was the target of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who accused him of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been waging a decades-long warfare against Turkish troops.
“Who are you to decide in the name of Turkey? Look at the shameless [Schulz]. He says we will impose sanctions. Who cares if all you do is imposing sanctions,” blasted Erdogan on Monday in response to the EP President.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany