EP: Co­op­er­a­tion on mi­gra­tion should not to be linked with Turkey-EU ac­ces­sion

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Co­op­er­a­tion with Turkey on the mi­gra­tion cri­sis should be de­cou­pled from the EU ac­ces­sion ne­go­ti­at­ing process, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee mem­bers said, af­ter a vote on the Kati Piri res­o­lu­tion on the ac­ces­sion progress of Turkey that re­mains to be voted by the full House in Stras­bourg in April.

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&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”.

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