Turkey returns European Parliament report

Turkey returns European Parliament report

Güven Özalp - BRUSSELS
Turkey returns European Parliament report


Turkey has returned a report by the European Parliament, which included the harshest criticisms of Ankara voiced by Brussels in recent years, deeming it “unacceptable.” 

The report, prepared by Kati Piri, the rapporteur for Turkey at the European Parliament, was returned by Turkey’s EU Permanent Representative Ambassador Selim Yenel without being put into any process. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was criticized for “backsliding” on democracy and the rule of law in the report, which was approved by 375 votes against 133 in the European Parliament on April 14. 

Turkey pursues a policy of sending back European Parliament documents considered “unacceptable” by Ankara. The total number of returned documents has now reached six, while the report returned on June 17 is the second Turkey report that has been sent back. 

Brussels said it was “deeply concerned” that Ankara is violating criteria needed to join the European Union “in the light of the backsliding on respect for democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.” 

Piri at the time said regression in areas such as freedom of expression and independence of the judiciary was “particularly worrying,” adding that the overall pace of reforms has also slowed down.

“We also express our concern about the escalation of violence in the southeast,” Piri said on April 14, citing figures that nearly 400,000 civilians had to flee certain urban districts where operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are being conducted. 

The report called for an immediate ceasefire and called upon the PKK to lay down its arms and “use peaceful and legal means to voice its expectations.”

Ankara rejected the report on April 14, with then Turkish EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır describing it as “null and void.”