EU migration deal with Turkey should not come before principles

Press release
Marietje

Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) condemns the series of events that occurred in Turkey early this morning. In addition to speaking out, EU leaders such as HR/VP Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn need to follow up with concrete actions. The Member State governments too, should stop placing the arrangements with Turkey on migration above principles.

Not only were the co-chairs, as well as 10 other lawmakers from the People's Democratic Party (HDP) detained, access to social media was blocked whilst the arrests were carried out. Schaake: "It is unacceptable that the series of arrests of politicians, journalists and civilians can continue without consequence. Turkey's government has been abusing the coup attempt, which the EU rightfully condemned, as a pretext to crack down on any dissent. When elected parliamentarians are arrested, a new low point is reached."

EU should put words into action

In a statement, foreign policy chief Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn vowed to follow the situation in Turkey very closely. Schaake: "The EU has been ‘following’ the situation in Turkey for months. By now, President Erdogan knows condemnations will not lead to actions. What happened in Turkey this morning can be added to a long list of events in which the Turkish authorities have failed to respect the rule of law and democratic principles, human rights and press freedoms. Earlier this week, staff members from Cumhuriyet newspaper were detained. It is time the EU attaches consequences to these developments, for example through stopping to pretend the statement on migration leads to positive changes. Additionally a freezing of accession talks until meaningful benchmarks towards respect for the rule of law are met, should be on the table."

EU-Turkey Migration deal

The EU has made itself heavily dependent on the authorities in Turkey for preventing migrants and refugees from coming to Europe, as agreed since March 2016 under the ‘EU-Turkey statement’. Schaake: "As a result of this murky migration deal, which was never public or subject to a vote by the European Parliament, Turkey can blackmail Europe. The EU’s foreign policy has become a lame duck when leaders fail to react to events unfolding, out of fear of more asylum seekers being sent to Europe."