European Parliament key debate on situation in Turkey

Marietje
On the initiative of the Liberal Group in the European Parliament MEPs will debate the current situation in Turkey. Political groups have drafted a Joint Motion for Resolution that will be the basis of the debate, during which the European Commission is represented by High Representative Catherine Ashton and the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Mr. Stefan Fule. The Resolution can be found here. You can watch a full recording of  the debate here, and my intervention below this text. In the light of the protests and the response by the Turkish authorities I have put my thoughts in this blog post: "EU should listen to demonstrators, and engage not estrange Turkey". Over the last years I have been actively involved in the EU's policy towards Turkey, you can find a selection of recent articles and parliamentary activities below. Best regards, Marietje Schaake Freedoms and rights - 17 April 2013: "EU Must Use Accession Process to Fight Turkish Rights Slide" - 16 April 2013 : "Sentencing of Turkish Pianist Marks New Low"  - 12 March 2013: Video on EU enlargement and Turkey - 19 December 2012: "European Human Rights Court Rules Internet Blocking in Turkey Unlawful" - 14 June 2012: Letter to Prime Minister Erdogan on Remarks About Abortion in  Turkey. - 3 August 2011: "Turkey on Trial" - 1 June 2011: Parliamentary question on internet freedom as an EU accession criterion. Foreign Policy and Turkey's role as a regional player: - Turkish Policy Quarterly: Between Rhetoric and Reality: Turkey’s Foreign Policy, Spring 2013 - Huffington Post: "Could NATO's Second Largest Army Be Run By Terrorists?" - Turkish Policy Quarterly: Zero Problems? Time for a New Policy Narrative, Spring 2011 Video of my speech at the plenary debate Marietje Schaake (ALDE) - Mr President, via social media we have seen many people: men, women, pious, secular, young, old, bankers, entrepreneurs, students; they all want their voice to be heard.

They have been largely peaceful: pots and pans have been used to voice concern. The people in Turkey are experiencing the dictatorship of a majority, their voices unheard as a result of restrictions in media freedom, the high threshold for political parties and the government’s winner-takes-all mentality. The weakness of the opposition surely does not help either.

But the government, which presents itself as full of ambition and confidence internationally, must act responsibly. They must urge restraint in police violence and see dialogues and reforms. This does not mean arresting lawyers, fining the media and inciting people. Personal threats by the President, the Prime Minister and the AKP party towards the media, social media, financial institutions and all of the citizens that they claim to represent is worrying, dangerous and misguided.

Let us be honest, as honest as Turkish politicians tend to be towards us. We have addressed the problems with the rule of law, separation of powers, fundamental rights and the need to respect the rights of women and the media. Once more we would like to stress the need for actual democratisation, beyond ‘one man, one vote’. Turkey needs to respect pluralism and freedoms and strive to be a liberal democracy, not an illiberal one.