Letter to President Juncker and High Representative Mogherini concerning the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan

Marietje
On October 23, Marietje Schaake (ALDE) together with Ernest Maragall i Mira (Greens/EFA) and Kati Piri (S&D) sent a letter to European Commission President Juncker and Vice-President / High Representative of Foreign Affairs Mogherini, expressing their concern about the Draft Action Plan that is currently being negotiated with Turkey. The letter was also signed by 49 other Members of the European Parliament. EP-logo Brussels, 23 October 2015 Dear President Juncker, Dear HR/VP Mogherini, Europe is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, which necessitates that the international community acts in solidarity and cooperation. Turkey is currently hosting the largest refugee population in the world, with 2.2 million refugees in total. Turkey is also the main transit country on the way to the EU for Syrian refugees. We believe that it is highly essential that the EU and Turkey urgently cooperate in dealing with the refugee crisis and we support, in principle, the European Commission's initiative for an EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan. However, we would like to voice our concern over the direct link that the European Commission is making between the EU accession process of Turkey and the common challenges we face in dealing with the large amount of refugees who are in need of protection. The Commission’s first “offer” to Turkey only consisted of relocating 1 billion euro from IPA-funds. Money that is meant to facilitate the accession process. Furthermore, a direct link with enlargement was also made when President Juncker said in his State of the Union address that a country cannot be a candidate country if it is not a ‘safe country of origin’. While we are in favour of advancing accession negotiations with Turkey, we are deeply concerned to see how they are being used as a bargaining chip for the Draft Action Plan. EU conditionality for enlargement should not be a political instrument to compensate for a failed strategy to tackle the refugee crisis. The same applies to visa-liberalisation which is secured by strict requirements. In both cases the clearly stated criteria must be met by Turkey. We also believe that the timing of Chancellor Merkel's recent trip was a very unfortunate one. Furthermore, the postponement of this year’s Progress Report signals a lack of willingness to speak up against the Turkish government's backtrack on reforms prior to the upcoming general election. This sets a bad precedent and creates the image that the EU is willing to soften its tone on internal developments in Turkey in exchange for cooperation on refugees. We would hereby like to call upon the European Commission to publish its progress report on Turkey ahead of the 1 November elections. In light of the above, we hope you will consider our request, as it is important that the EU keeps up its values. Yours sincerely, Ernest Maragall i Mira (Greens/EFA) Kati Piri (S&D) Marietje Schaake (ALDE) Nikos Androulakis (S&D) Maria Arena (S&D) Petras Austrevicius (ALDE) Brando Benifei (S&D) Goffredo Bettini (S&D) Izaskun Bilbao (ALDE) Victor Boştinaru (S&D) José Bové (Greens/EFA) Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD) Ivan Cătălin-Sorin (S&D) Karima Delli (Greens/EFA) Mark Demesmaeker (ECR) Jean-Paul Denanot (S&D) Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA) Ismail Ertug (S&D) Tanja Fajon (S&D) Fredrick Federley (ALDE) Knut Fleckenstein (S&D) Eugen Freund (S&D) Iratxe García-Pérez (S&D) Neena Gill (S&D) Ana Gomes (S&D) Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE/NGL) Richard Howitt (S&D) Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA) Sophie in 't Veld (ALDE) Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D) Yannick Jadot (Greens/EFA) Eva Joly (Greens/EFA) Eva Kaili (S&D) Tunne Kelam (EPP) Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL) Edouard Martin (S&D) Demetris Papadakis (S&D) Georgi Pirinski (S&D) Miroslav Poche (S&D) Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA) Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA) Liliana Rodrigues (S&D) Bronis Ropė (Greens/EFA) Sofia Sakorafa (GUE/NGL) Elly Schlein (S&D) Tibor Szanyi (S&D) Josep-Maria Terricabras (Greens/EFA) Ramon Tremosa (ALDE) Bodil Valero (Greens/EFA) Hilde Vautmans (ALDE) Julie Ward (S&D) Josef Weidenholzer (S&D)
Download the Letter to President Juncker and HRVP Mogherini (pdf). See also on Turkey: 12-10-2015 Written Questions on halting the broadcast of tv channels in Turkey 01-09-2015 Written Questions on press freedom in Turkey 08-06-2015 MEP: Turkish election results offer opportunity to improve EU-Turkey relations 21-05-2015 MEP: Turkey must reverse authoritarian trend to remain a key EU partner 20-05-2015 Plenary debate on the 2014 Progress Report on Turkey 22-04-2015 MEPs: We must defend all those standing on the front-line for free speech in Turkey 07-04-2015 Media (CNN) – Schaake: Turkey internet blockade is bad for business 06-04-2015 Media (Bloomberg) – Facebook, Twitter to Appeal as Turkey Blocks Social Media 31-03-2015 MEP responds to acquittal 236 suspects in Balyoz/Sledgehammer case