EU Helene Flautre expresses concerns over Turkey’s EU bid

20 February 2014 /ANKARA, TODAY’S ZAMAN – Hélène Flautre, co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, has sent a letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gül, asking him to take action in order to safeguard the credibility of the Turkey’s European Union membership bid.

“Mr. President, I am writing to ask you to take action in order to safeguard the credibility of the Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Turkey’s friends and people who sincerely support Turkey’s full membership have been concerned about the signals Ankara has recently been giving,” the letter reads.

Flautre noted that Turkish government’s increased pressure on the press, the media, and journalists contradict the exercise of freedom of expression and the notion of a free press.

“Many European institutions have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the bill on the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is pending your approval. This bill is not only a regression in terms of rule of law and separation of powers in Turkey, but also has the potential to undermine the already battered credibility of the judiciary,” said Flautre.”Since 2010, I have consistently backed all the judicial reforms proposed by the government [in Turkey], which were intended to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and increase harmonization with European standards. I have always believed, and continue to believe, that the accession of Turkey to the European Union is a project of the utmost importance, both for Europe and for Turkey. For many years, I have struggled to promote this idea in Europe. Today, I have come to realize that this struggle is being made increasingly harder by the manner adopted by the Turkish government in recent months,” Flautre added.

Flautre also said that the ongoing crisis has the potential to endanger Turkey’s EU bid at a time when the governments of EU member states seem more open than ever to the resumption of negotiations with Turkey. “Therefore, Mr. President, I kindly request that you should not approve the HSYK bill so that Turkey’s EU bid is not endangered. I would also like to take this opportunity to call on all political forces in Turkey to reassert their commitment to democracy in the interest of the peoples of Turkey and Europe,” Flautre concluded.