Turkey-EU parliamentary meeting delayed a month amid cool relations
DAILY NEWS PhotoA planned joint parliamentary meeting between Turkey and EU representatives was postponed for a month due to lawmakers’ busy agenda, the Turkish co-chair of the joint commission has said, after a European lawmaker accused Ankara of delaying the event in order to avoid criticism.
Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission (KPK) Co-Chair Afif Demirkıran said a commission meeting planned to be held on Feb. 18 and 19 in Istanbul has been delayed to March because 25 KPK member lawmakers will have to attend debates for the much-debated security bill in Ankara.
EU ‘knows Turkey’s red lines’
Speaking to semi-official Anadolu Agency on Feb. 11, Demirkıran ruled out claims that the decision was politically-motivated and was a reaction to the 442 change motions filed about the Progress Report on Turkey’s accession bid currently being prepared by the European Parliament.
Some 442 motions have been filed by European Parliament lawmakers to sharpen the tone of the report, including calling on Ankara to recognize claims that the 1915 massacres of Ottoman Armenians amounted to genocide, and removing the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the EU’s terror list.
Demirkıran said the European Parliament’s Progress Report called for the reconciliation of Turkey and Armenia, but stressed that Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri is “aware of Turkey’s red lines” on the issue.
‘Cold climate in Istanbul’
A day before, one of the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteurs, German Christian Democrat party member Renate Sommer, said the delay request from the Turkish side was “incomprehensible behavior.”
In a statement, Sommer suggested that the Turkish government backed away from the meeting because it feared possible reactions from European parliamentarians, particularly over the issues of press freedom and the ongoing Cyprus tension.
Hannes Swaboda, the leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, posted a message on his Twitter account late on Feb. 10 indicating the tension between Ankara and Brussels.
“Cold climate in Istanbul - also politically. But we need to keep channels of discussion and dialogue open,” Swaboda tweeted