This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Amendments to 2015 Progress Report on Turkey

DRAFT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure on the 2015 report on Turkey (2015/2898(RSP)) Kati Piri on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs B8 0000/2016 European Parliament resolution on Report on Turkey (2015/2898(RSP)) The European Parliament, – having regard to the 2015 Commission report on Turkey (SWD(2015)0216), – having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 December 2015 on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process, – having regard to the joint statement following the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2015 and the EU-Turkey Action Plan, – having regard to the so-called appendix to the joint statement signed by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, stating that the Commission plans the preparations to open the acquis chapters 15 on Energy, 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, 24 on Justice, Freedom and Security, 26 on Education and Culture, and 31 on Foreign, Security and Defense Policy in the first quarter of 2016, – having regard to the intergovernmental conference on 14 December 2015 during which officially chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy was opened, – having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular the annual progress reports, – having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey’s accession to the EU of 3 October 2005, – having regard to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which states that the contracting parties undertake to abide by the final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in any case to which they are parties, – having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, – having regard to the fact that accession negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 and that the opening of such negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process based on fair and rigorous conditionality and a commitment to reform; NEW having regard to the call from the European Parliament to the European Commission in the EP Turkey Progress Report 2014 to re-assess the way in which accession negotiations have been conducted so far and how EU-Turkey relations and cooperation could be improved and intensified; (CO-SIGNED) – having regard to the fact that respect for the rule of law, including in particular the separation of powers, the freedom of expression, and the rights of minorities, are at the core of the accession process; – having regard to the fact that, regarding the political criteria, the pace of reforms slowed down and there has been significant backsliding in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly; – having regard to the fact that Turkey's saw its security situation has increasingly deteriorated deteriorates; (CO-SIGNED) – having regard to the fact that the EU and Turkey agreed to reinvigorate the accession process and to cooperate intensively on migration; ¬ having regard to the fact that the Turkish people so far dealt admirably hospitable to the large number of refugees living among them; – having regard to the fact that Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world, with about 2.5 million registered refugees from Syria; – having regard to the fact that Turkey faced multiple terrorist attacks, attributed to ISIL, in Diyarbakir, Suruc, Istanbul and Ankara whereby 146 innocent people lost their lives; – having regard to the work of Kati Piri as the Turkey standing rapporteur of the Foreign Affairs Committee, – having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure, NEW whereas according to the ranking made by Freedom House for press and media freedoms, Turkey is still ranked as not having a free press and internet freedom being only partly free; (CO-SIGNED) NEW whereas Reporters without Borders classified Turkey slightly better in 2015 (compared to 2014), but that it is still one of the countries where journalists suffered the most threats and physical attacks; (CO-SIGNED) I. The state of play in EU-Turkey relations NEW Supports a renewed political engagement between the EU and Turkey on geopolitical challenges, such as the ongoing civil war in Syria and the fight against Daesh, and in particular the refugee and migration crisis; equally recommends to speed up and extend cooperation on people-to-people contacts, like student exchanges, scientific and university cooperation and visa liberalisation; questions, however, linking EU-Turkey cooperation on migration and refugees to the calendar, content and conditionality of the negotiation process; (CO-SIGNED) NEW Reiterates its call from 2015 to the Commission to make a reassessment of the way in which negotiations have been conducted so far and how EU-Turkey relations and cooperation could be improved and intensified; calls on the European Commission to assess if Turkey fulfils the first Copenhagen Criteria of stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; in light of the backsliding on respect of democracy and rule of law inside Turkey over the last years; (CO-SIGNED) 1. Is deeply concerned that the overall pace of reforms in Turkey has come to a virtual standstill slowed down and in certain key areas, such as the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression, there has been a regression; (CO-SIGNED) NEW Welcomes current closer cooperation and coordination as well as strategic alignment of foreign policy challenges between the EU and Turkey; is of the opinion that the Turkish Foreign Minister should be invited to attend foreign affairs Council meetings on a case by case basis given Turkey's geostrategic position; (CO-SIGNED) 2. Welcomes the reinvigoration of the accession process and hopes that concrete progress can be made by opening new negotiation chapters when the benchmarks are met; strongly supports a structured and more frequent high-level dialogue on key thematic issues; (CO-SIGNED) 3. Believes that the postponement of the Commission's 2015 progress report until after the Turkish elections, was a wrong decision as it gave the impression that the EU is willing to go silent on fundamental rights in return for Ankara´s cooperation on refugees; calls on both the European Commission and the Council to clearly stand up for the rule of law in Turkey, irrespective of other interests; 4. Takes note of the results of the repeated parliamentary elections held on 1 November 2015 and the formation of a new government; reiterates its call for the 10% parliamentary threshold to be lowered; commends the active participation of civil society volunteers during elections and the high voter turnout; deplores, however, attacks on individual candidates and party offices; NEW Welcomes a more pluralistic Turkish parliament, including Kurdish representation, but regrets that this has so far not resulted in a political process to solve the peace process with the Kurds; (CO-SIGNED) 5. Calls for an upgrade of the customs union by expanding it with agricultural products, services and public procurement; is of the view that Turkey's interests should be considered within the framework of the TTIP negotiations; (CO-SIGNED) NEW Recalls Turkey's strategic importance for EU's energy security as a key transit country, particularly considering the EU's strained relations with Russia, which is the EU's main gas provider; points to the three Southern Gas Corridor projects approved at the end of 2013, which will enhance the security of gas supply for Turkey and access to the EU as the main energy market; takes the view that in a context of increasingly competing energy markets and the need for diversified energy sources, Turkey, with its high potential of renewables, could provide an important contribution to the EU's energy security and its ambitions regarding energy diversification; (CO-SIGNED) II. Respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms 6. Insists firmly on the need for the Turkish government to show serious progress in the field of rule of law; calls, in this regard, for the delivering of the official opening benchmarks and the subsequent opening of Chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) which is an important step to promote truly effective reforms in Turkey based on EU values and standards; calls on Turkey to engage fully with the Council of Europe and with the Venice Commission in the areas of judicial reforms; (CO-SIGNED) NEW Calls for the urgent restoring of the separation of powers and meaningful steps to ensure the full independence of the judiciary; (SCHAAKE) NEW Deplores the personal attacks by leading government officials on journalists and opponents, as well as the increasingly authoritarian form of governance by Turkish government leaders; (SCHAAKE) NEW Is deeply concerned about the blocking of tens of thousands of websites, and the authority of the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) that allows the blocking of websites within 4 hours; (SCHAAKE) NEW Condemns the decision of Digiturk to stop transmitting television channels allegedly based on political motives; (SCHAAKE) 7. Deplores the serious backsliding on freedom of expression in Turkey; reiterates that freedom of speech and an independent media are at the core of EU values; calls for the immediate release of all jailed journalists, including Can Dündar and Erdem Gül; deplores the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the Turkish leadership and regrets that the ruling AKP seems to fully support this; (CO-SIGNED) 8. Urges the Turkish government to end the political and economic pressure on independent media; strongly condemns verbal and physical attacks, and the increasing use of defamation and anti-terror legislation against journalists; content bans for online and conventional reporting as well as website blocking; deplores, in particular, the investigations, arrests, prison sentences and punitive fines for allegedly insulting the head of state, based on article 299 of the penal code; NEW Recalls that the freedom of expression and freedom of the media remain central to the functioning of a democratic and open society and expresses its concern about exceptionally high tax fines imposed on media organisations and the trend of firing critical editors and journalists as well as the tendency of self-censorship that are observed in Turkey; (CO-SIGNED) NEW Is concerned about the presence of ISIL sleeper cells in Turkey, and calls for an independent investigation into the murders of journalists Naji Jerf, Ibrahim Abdel Qader as well as Fares Hammadi of the blog about Syria 'Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently' on Turkish soil; (SCHAAKE) NEW Condemns attempts of intimidation on international media and journalists by Turkish government officials, as in the cases of the Aftenposten correspondent Silje Kampesæter, the Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, two British and one Iraqi journalist from Vice News; (CO-SIGNED) 9. Reiterates its concern about the anti-terrorism law, notably its broad definition of terrorism; insists that criminal and anti-terror legislation needs to be in line with ECtHR case law; Expresses concern about the numerous reassignments, unwilling transfers and dismissals of judges and prosecutors, which put into question the independence, impartiality and efficiency of the judiciary, as well as the respect for the principles of due process and separation of powers; NEW Calls on Turkey to undertake serious efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTI community; emphasises the need to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including the prohibition of discrimination and hate speech on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, and to include the prohibition of such discrimination in a new constitution; strongly condemns the last-minute ban of Istanbul Pride in June 2015 and the police violence against peaceful demonstrators; expresses strong concern at the frequent attacks on transgender persons and the lack of protection provided to LGBTI persons against acts of violence; highlights in this regards its disappointment over the failure to include protection against hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Hate Crimes Bill; regrets that hate crime against LGBTI people often remains unpunished or that offenders' sentences are reduced for the victim's 'unjust provocation'; calls on the Government of Turkey to instruct the Turkish Armed Forces to end discriminatory exclusion of LGBT people from the army; (CO-SIGNED) 10. Takes the view that a new Constitution based on provisions promoting a pluralistic, inclusive and tolerant society would underpin the reform process; underlines that a new constitution should be based on widespread consensus across the political spectrum and in society as a whole; NEW Underlines the need to fully respect, in line with European values, the right to different life-styles, secular as well as faith based ones, and to maintain the separation of state and religion; (CO-SIGNED) III. Kurdish peace process and Situation in the South East of Turkey (CO-SIGNED) 11. Expresses deep concern about the deteriorating situation in the South East of Turkey; acknowledges Turkey´s legitimate right to fight against terrorism; stresses, however, that security measures must be conducted with respect for rule of law and human rights; Underlines that antiterrorism operations must be proportional and not take the form of collective punishment; condemns the misconduct of special security forces and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice; 12. Condemns the return to violence by the PKK, which is on the EU´s list of terrorist organizations; stresses that there is no violent solution for the Kurdish question and condemns attacks on security forces and civilians; expresses serious concern, in this regard, to the building of barricades and the digging of trenches by YPG-H militants; insists, however, that peaceful protests should be allowed; 13. Calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately lift the curfews; urges the government to allow the wounded to be taken to hospital, by complying with the interim measures of the ECtHR; is deeply concerned about the rising number of civilian deaths, which need to be thoroughly investigated, and the fact that around 400.000 people became internally displaced; underlines that families must be allowed to retrieve the bodies on the streets and bury them; asks the Turkish government to put in place a formal mechanism for urgent aid and compensation for those who had to flee their homes, lost their livelihoods and became unemployed; regrets the destruction of historical heritage; 14. Calls for an immediate ceasefire and the peace process to be resumed; urges the EU to take an active role herein; underlines the importance of giving priority to enhancing the social, cultural and political rights and equal treatment of citizens of Kurdish origin; 15. Deplores the intimidation and prosecution of more than 1,000 academics who signed a petition calling for peace; underlines that the ones responsible for the killing of lawyer Tahir Elci - who dedicated his life to peace and human rights - are brought to justice; Expresses serious concern about the judicial investigations targeting mainly HDP members, as well as the imprisonment and dismissal of local mayors; NEW Underlines that the ones responsible for the killing of lawyer Tahir Elci - who dedicated his life to peace and human rights - must be brought to justice; Expresses serious concern about the judicial investigations targeting mainly HDP members, as well as the imprisonment and dismissal of local mayors; (SCHAAKE) 16. Condemns the terrorist attacks by ISIL in Diyarbakir, Suruc, Ankara, and Istanbul; Expresses its solidarity with the victims and their families and with the Turkish people; stresses the importance of conducting thorough investigations into these attacks; 17. Notes Turkey´s stepping up of its fight against ISIL and urges Turkey to continue to increase efforts to prevent foreign fighters, money and equipment to reach ISIL via its territory; IV. EU-Turkey cooperation on migration 18. Praises Turkey for hosting the largest refugee population in the world; Recalls that Turkey is one of the key transit countries for asylum seekers traveling to the EU; stresses the importance of cooperating with Turkey in decreasing the number of migrants arriving in Europe and preventing losses of life at sea; welcomes the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan on refugees and migration management; stresses, however, that cooperation on migration should not be linked to the accession process; 19. Stresses that the 3 billion euros, which are part of the Refugee Facility for Turkey, will have to come to the direct benefit of refugees and their host communities; calls on the European Commission to ensure that a mechanism is put in place to check that funds are used adequately; underlines the need to pay special attention to vulnerable groups such as women and children; 20. Commends the recent decision of the Turkish government to open its labour market for Syrian refugees; encourages more urgent action to ensure that all 700.000 Syrian children receive education; praises the Turkish government for providing Syrian refugees with free health services and education, 21. Praises Turkey for maintaining an open-border policy for Syrian refugees until recently; Stresses, however, that a much stricter visa policy must be applied to third countries in order to curb the influx of economic migrants via Turkey into Europe; underlines that Turkey needs to further improve its border security and to step up its fight against human smugglers; calls on Frontex to offer its support to the Turkish coast guard and to exchange information; (CO-SIGNED) 22. Underlines that stemming migration to the EU should not lead to push backs of refugees or illegal detention; reiterates its call on Turkey to lift the geographic reservation to the 1951 Geneva Convention; insists that it is crucial to put in place safe and legal routes for refugees and urges member states to substantially increase their resettlement efforts; is of the opinion that the only way to stop the refugee flow into Europe is to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis; 23. Stresses that implementation of the readmission agreement is crucial for the EU as it provides an opportunity for a more effective return policy of economic migrants who are in no need of international protection; Calls on Turkey, in the meantime, to implement the existing bilateral readmission agreements fully and effectively; 24. Encourages the government to meet the criteria identified in the visa liberalisation roadmap; recalls that visa liberalisation is a merit-based process and only when the standards have been met, visa free travel will be enabled for Turkish citizens; asks the Commission to provide more technical assistance for the fulfillment of the conditions of the roadmap; V. Progress Cyprus reunification talks 25. Praises the considerable progress achieved in the reunification talks of Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy; supports, in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the establishment of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation; commends the constructive approach of the leaders of both the Greek and Turkish communities on the island, and their determination and tireless efforts to reach a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement before the end of this year; underlines the importance of the solution of the decades-long Cyprus problem for the whole region, and for Europe/ the European Union; (CO-SIGNED) 26. Welcomes the agreement by the two leaders on a series of confidence building measures, including on the opening of two new border crossings, on the interconnection of the electricity grids, as well as the mobile network unification; calls on the EU to fully support the settlement, both politically and financially; calls on Turkey, and all parties concerned, to actively support the negotiation process and the outcome; calls on Turkey to begin to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and to transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550(1984); commends that access is granted for the Committee on Missing Persons to all relevant sites, including military areas; 27. Welcomes the initiative of President Anastasiades to make Turkish an official language of the EU; notes the need for the implementation of the EU acquis in the future Turkish Cypriot Constituent State upon entry into force of the settlement agreement; welcomes, in this regard, the establishment of the bi-communal ad-hoc committee on EU preparation; 28. Deplores Turkey´s refusal to fulfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement vis-a-vis all member states, the fulfilment of which could provide a significant boost to the negotiation process; 29. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.