On 13 September 2023, the European Parliament adopted its annual Turkey Report prepared by its rapporteur Nacho Sánchez Amor. Mr Amor announced this development with a tweet stating: “The #EP 2022 Report on #Türkiye has just been approved by the @Europarl_EN with large support. Our message is clear: if Turkey wants to revive the EU accession process, we need clear, concrete ACTIONS, not words!”
During the debate in the European Parliament, Mr. Amor criticized the inconsistency in Turkey’s approach, alternating between friendly overtures and domestic nationalist rhetoric. Mr. Amor said that the EU membership process had been exhausted due to a lack of political will from the Turkish ruling elite. He stressed that the membership process is based on the merits of the country, particularly in terms of compliance with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the protection of freedom of expression, and the avoidance of imposing an Islamist agenda on the culture of the country. He emphasized the need for Turkey to demonstrate real progress through actions, not mere declarations, to keep the accession process alive.
“… as usual, one week a love letter from President Erdogan to the European Union and the next week a love letter from the European Union and the next week a criticism completely unfocused and based on half-truths all for domestic nationalist consumption in relation to the accession process. … I think Turkey should receive some clear messages from this parliament the accession process has been exhausted; as we have the accession process we are not looking for alternative formulas to relate with Turkey and therefore this is preventing us from looking for a different framework which is what the council has asked Borrell to come up with a framework of relations with Turkey that is realistic and based on the real possibilities that we have to relate with Turkey. … The membership process is exhausted by an obvious lack of political will of the Turkish ruling elite. The membership process is based on the merits of the country and on achieving the goals that have been set. Therefore this is not about geopolitics, about drones, about grain deal, and it’s not about the size of the army. This is about complying with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. This is about stopping attacking the freedom of expression, not imposing an Islamist agenda on the culture of the country. If Turkey really wants to keep the accession process alive it should put on the table not declarations but facts of actions and real progress.” – Nacho Sánchez Amor
In the report, the European Parliament condemned the lack of independence of the judiciary in Turkey and its political instrumentalization. EP also condemned constant attacks on the rights of opposition members, human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists, minorities, journalists, academics, and civil society activists. The report highlighted the abuse of anti-terror laws and also noted the targeting of journalists and political opponents from Turkey within the EU. EP also raised its concerns about reports of excessive violence against prisoners, with a strong call to ensure humane treatment in accordance with basic human rights standards.
In the report following were said,
The European Parliament:
Considers that, in terms of human rights and the rule of law, the desolate picture painted in its resolution of 7 June 2022 on the 2021 Commission Report on Turkey remains valid, … fully endorses the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 12 October 2022, and the related report by its Monitoring Committee, on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Türkiye, as well as the resolutions adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe pending the execution of judgments of the ECtHR, which depict in detail the wide range of serious shortfalls in human rights constantly reported by locally and internationally renowned human rights organisations; (§8)
Condemns the lack of independence of the judiciary and the political instrumentalisation of the judicial system and stresses that this area is of highest concern to the EU, as independence of the judiciary represents the keystone of a functioning democratic system that works in the service and for the benefit of the population; (§10)
Remains concerned about the serious restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the constant attacks on the fundamental rights of members of the opposition, human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists, members of minorities, journalists, academics and civil society activists, including through judicial and administrative harassment, the arbitrary use of anti-terror laws, stigmatisation and the closure of associations; (§10)
Expresses concern about reports of excessive violence being perpetrated against prisoners; strongly stresses the need to ensure the humane treatment of all prisoners in accordance with basic human rights; (§10)
Condemns the continued prosecution, censorship and harassment of journalists and independent media in Türkiye; is also concerned about the targeting in the EU of journalists and political opponents originating from Türkiye; (§12)
Calls on the Turkish authorities to allow civil society organisations, lawyers and other legal representatives and the press to function in accordance with their duties and within their remit and scope and to practise their profession freely, as this provides for an overall healthier democracy and society; (§12)
Deplores the targeting of political parties and members of the opposition who have come under increasing pressure; … is particularly worried about the continued crackdown on Kurdish politicians, journalists, lawyers and artists, including mass detentions prior to the elections, as well as the ongoing closure case against the People’s Democratic Party; is concerned about the use of the judiciary to influence political decisions of opposition parties, such as the case against the mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality; (§13)