Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the European Commission to take a strong position against proposed internet legislation in Turkey. Schaake: "These new laws strengthen the grip of the Turkish government on what can and cannot be published online and they restrict access to information. Freedom of speech and press freedom are already under a lot of pressure and Turkey is the largest prison for journalists. Since 2007, many websites have been blocked. The European Commission needs to show that the rule of law and fundamental freedoms are at the centre of EU policy. The Gezi Park protests, last summer, have shown that the Turkish people long for freedom and democracy, we must not leave them standing in the cold." Accession criteria On the initiative of Schaake, digital freedom is one of the criteria which a candidate country has to fulfil. "In the context of the accession talks, the Commission needs to make clear that this kind of legislation is unacceptable and violates the criteria which Turkey will eventually have to adhere to (Copenhagen criteria). After visiting Brussels two weeks ago, prime minister Erdogan went back to Ankara unscathed. He indicated that he wants to continue negotiations. If that is really his intention, laws that restrict fundamental freedoms need to be taken off the table.