EU Parliament votes to freeze Turkey accession talks News
EU Parliament votes to freeze Turkey accession talks

[JURIST] The European Parliament [official website] voted [press release] on Thursday to halt EU accession negotiations with Turkey due to the government’s “disproportionate repressive measures” after a failed coup in July. This vote is non-binding, but represents a strong message to the EU Ministers before their December meeting to discuss Turkey’s 11-year bid for membership. The MEPs stated that the actions taken by the Turkish government “violate basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution,” and that “In partnerships, the will to cooperate has to be two-sided …. Turkey is not showing [the] political will [to cooperate as the government’s actions are further diverting Turkey from its European path.” The freezing of negotiations on this basis is provided for in Article 5 of the Turkey-EU Negotiating Framework [text, PDF]. However, the MEPs believe Turkey should still remain anchored to the EU.

The aftermath of the failed coup attempt continues as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan [BBC profile] vowed [JURIST report] that those involved in the coup would “pay a heavy price.” Last week, Turkey significantly halted the activities of 370 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including human rights and children’s groups to investigate the groups’ alleged terror connections [JURIST report]. The president of the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Theodor Meron, demanded [JURIST report] the release of Turkish judge Aydin Sefa Akay in an address to the UN General Assembly. Early in November, the Turkish Government arrested [JURIST report] eight pro-Kurdish political party members, including the party’s two leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and an additional nine party members. In September, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that approximately 32,000 people have been arrested [JURIST report] and 70,000 have been questioned. In late October, Turkey’s government dismissed 10,000 additional civil servants [JURIST report] and closed 15 more media outlets for their supposed connection with US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey has accused of orchestrating the attempted coup in July.