There has been angry reaction by the Turkish government to the European Parliament’s overwhelming recommendation on Thursday to freeze Turkey’s EU accession negotiations.
Chief negotiator and EU minister Ömer Çelik saying his government regards the decision as “void.”
“On a day like this, I would not want to make statements over the EP’s [European Parliament] visionless decision. In reality, we regard this decision as void,” said Çelik.
“It is easy to talk like this in places where terror has not occurred. At a time when Turkey, which has a 1,295-kilometer border with Syria and Iraq, is involved in a heightened fight against terror, there are visionless and imprudent debates going on in Europe, instead of solidarity,” Çelik said in reaction to the non-binding vote.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldrım also called the parliament’s move “two-faced” and the result of “double standards.”
There were around 479 votes in the EU parliament in favour of suspending the talks with Turkey while 37 were against it, and 107 abstained. The main reason behind the halt in negotiations was “disproportionate repressive measures” introduced under the state of emergency in Turkey that came after the failed coup attempt on 15th July.
“MEPs strongly condemn the ‘disproportionate repressive measures’ taken by the Turkish government since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. These ‘violate basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution itself,’” the parliamentarians said.
“Turkey is an important partner of the EU. But in partnerships, the will to cooperate has to be two-sided… Turkey is not showing this political will as the government’s actions are further diverting Turkey from its European path,” the European parliament stated.
It also noted that the re-introduction of the capital punishment would also pave the way for the “formal suspension of the accession process,” as Turkey has already complied with the requirement set out by EU acquis – the legislation of the community.
Meanwhile, Çelik added that the decision was not binding but it was a “manifestation” of what has occurred between the two parties up until now.
“Unfortunately, they have signed a decision that will go down badly in history,” said Çelik, highlighting the vote’s timing, which he called the “situation in which relations with Europe were practically halted.”