MEP: Turkish election results offer opportunity to improve EU-Turkey relations

Marietje
The Turkish elections results have shown that Mr Erdogan's AK Party has won 18 seats too few for an absolute majority yesterday. This ends 12 years of single-party rule by the AK Party and means that power will have to be shared. Schaake: "People in Turkey have clearly chosen for a different path, which is an important signal. The people have shown that economic growth is not the only factor that matters. Erdogan's plans to increase presidential power, and the ongoing crackdown on fundamental freedoms and rights, can no longer simply be imposed." Scenarios for different types of coalitions however, show an uncertain time lies ahead. Turning point On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on the annual progress report on Turkey. D66 tabled several amendments that significantly sharpened the text. According to MEP Schaake, a turning point has been reached in the relationship between Turkey and the EU: "Our grave concerns about urgent issues such as the rule of law, security laws and the threats to press and online freedoms have to be addressed in clear wording." EU-Turkey At the same time, politicians of all political groups understand the importance of having a constructive relationship with Turkey. The update of the customs union is welcomed, and the parliament seeks closer cooperation with Turkey on foreign policy matters. Schaake: "While it is important to acknowledge the relevance of the trade and security aspects of our partnership with Turkey, these must go hand in hand with emphasis on the most important values such as human rights and the rule of law. We call on President Erdogan and his AK Party to end the authoritarian grip and replace them with democratic reforms. The people in Turkey have shown yesterday that they want to go into a different direction. They must know what the EU stands for, and how important the rights and freedoms of people in Turkey are in the accession talks." Watch Schaake's intervention during the plenary debate in Strasbourg on the 20th of May.
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