Concrete steps in EU-Turkey relations key


A week after the attempted coup in Turkey, and after tens of thousands of arrests, European Ministers and the European Commission must take concrete steps to help restore security and strengthen the rule of law. After the strong condemnation of the coup, EU Institutions and Member States have been too silent. They must now engage pro-actively to assist in ensuring Turkey's stability, in line with EU values and strategic interests. 

Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66): "We as liberals have been very critical over the past years, when it came to the regress of the rule of law and the respect for human rights in Turkey. Particularly after the deal on migration, European leaders were silent even after major incidents of violations such as the arrests of journalists and the treatment of refugees. Silence can no longer be an option. Both the attempted coup and the reaction to it are reasons for a reassessment of the relationship between the EU and Turkey. In light of the destabilization of Turkey and the consequences it has, the EU must focus on the full-fledged return to a democratic path and a restoration of the rule of law. People who massively took to the streets to condemn the military power grab must be able to count on European support, not only in condemning the coup, but also in supporting democratic institutions, protecting and strengthening the rule of law afterwards."

Schaake urges Ministers to agree to the following steps during the Council meeting today and tomorrow: 

In cooperation with NATO, an assessment needs to be made of the consequences of the fragmentation within the Turkish armed forces for the alliance. This is important for securing the South Eastern border of NATO, and for the fight against so called Islamic State. If the coup attempt has led to fundamental weaknesses in the armed forces, the EU and NATO should map these and work towards urgent solutions for stability and reliability.

Suspects of involvement with the coup should face fair trials swiftly. The Turkish Bar Association should be supported to provide legal assistance to the tens of thousands of suspects, and to safeguard the rule of law. The EU should send observers to trials and support civil society. 

Council should reiterate the EU's standing position on the death penalty, which it condemns and rejects under all circumstances.  Any proposal to reinstate the death penalty will continue to be condemned and will lead to an end of EU accession negotiations. 

The state of emergency should be lifted as soon as possible, and does not change the responsibilities Turkey has under international law, particularly articles 2, 3 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are not subject to derogation.

The EU-Turkey deal on migration must be reassessed in light of the unstable security situation, the state of emergency and the application of anti-terror measures taken after the attempted coup.

Minorities should be protected against violence and repression.

EU citizens with dual-nationality require additional consular support in case they are banned from leaving Turkey or are suspected of involvement with the coup attempt

Structural dialogue is needed between authorities and Turkish origin communities in Europe to make sure tensions do not spill over. Intimidation of journalists or people with a different opinion is damaging. Official calls to report other people to Turkish authorities are unacceptable. 

Any potential additional costs for these measures can be covered by pre-accession funds.