ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The European Parliament (EP) lawmakers on Thursday voted for a temporary freeze of accession talks with Turkey over “repressive measures” taken by Ankara in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup.
A non-binding resolution proposing to halt the negotiations with Turkey was adopted by 479 members of the EP (MEPs), while 37 voted against it as 107 abstained, according to a press release on the EP website.
A temporary suspension of negotiations meant no new negotiating chapters were to be opened and no new initiatives were to be taken concerning Turkey’s EU Negotiation Framework.
The EP said calls in Turkey to reinstate capital punishment was the red line that would lead to a formal halt of the accession talks that started in 2005.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last week signaled an end to his country’s EU bid, had repeatedly stated he would approve the death penalty if passed by the Parliament.
“The unequivocal rejection of the death penalty is an essential element of the Union acquis,” said the EP press release.
The MEPs also “strongly condemned the disproportionate repressive measures taken by the Turkish government since the failed coup that violated basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution itself,” it continued.
Turkish authorities, acting under a state of emergency, imprisoned about 40,000 people and purged over 100,000 employees in the government and military institutions.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik reacted to the EP’s adoption of the motion to halt negotiations with Ankara, saying the decision was null in Turkish eyes.
“There is a message the European parliamentarians want to give us, actually, to our President,” said Celik without elaborating.
“Where was the EU when our people and President stood up to tanks and warplanes during the coup attempt?” Celik asked, who went on claiming the EU was in an existential crisis.
EU officials have previously threatened Turkey with the prospects of ending relations and imposing economic sanctions in response to the increasing government authoritarianism.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany