Omer Celik, the spokesperson of the ruling AK Party (AKP), reacted on Wednesday to the European Parliament (EP) which called on the European Union (EU) leaders to formally suspend Turkey’s accession talks, citing concerns over violations of human rights and new constitution giving the President sweeping executive power in Turkey.
Celik criticized the result of the EP voting as “worthless, null and disreputable.”
“After our parliament was bombed during the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the EP did not
even visit us for solidarity. The EP President only came months later. However, EP sees no
harm in working with coup leaders,” Celik lamented.
“Everybody knows the racist [tendency] of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European
Neighborhood Policy and that the rapporteur who prepared this report is close to terror
supporters more than the democracy,” Celik added.
Celik further claimed that the “disreputable” decision showed that the EP was already under
the influence of far-right ideology.
Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the decision, arguing, “It is impossible for us to attribute
any value to the one-sided and non-objective approach adopted by the EP.”
The ministry further stated that Turkey expected the new EP Parliament to be formed after
the elections in May, to adopt a constructive approach and take qualified and objective
decisions, boosting the integration process.
During the EP voting, 370 lawmakers voted in favor, while 109 voted against, and 143
Having only an advisory role, the EP’s decision is not legally binding. The final decision on
whether or not to halt accession negotiations is taken by heads of government meeting in
the European Council.
In February, Kati Piri, EP Turkey rapporteur, had an interview with the Peace and Justice
The platform, an NGO reporting on democracy-related issues with a special focus on Turkey,
regarding her thoughts on the report and Turkey.
“After the coup attempt, the Turkish government decided not only to purge all followers of
the Gulen movement but also to arrest nine People’s Democratic Party (HDP) members of
the Turkish parliament, including its leader, Selahattin Demirtas, and some Cumhuriyet daily journalists,” she said.
Reminding the EP’s call for a freeze of the accession negotiations in November 2016, Piri said, “That was the first time we took a tougher stance, and in 2017, when we saw things
deteriorating further, we thought it was necessary for the EP to draw a red line and our red
line was the new constitution.”
Piri went on saying that the EP had hoped the Turkish government would take note of the
Venice Commission, the advisory body of the Council of Europe, which said in 2017 that
Turkey’s new constitution could lead to one-man rule and therefore called for a separation
According to Piri, Turkey, however, pushed forward the election and implemented the new
constitution very quickly without making any substantial changes to it.
Therefore, EP thought that their red line – the one the EP had been warning Turkey about ever since the coup attempt, and that Turkey had not taken seriously – had been crossed.
“And that is how we ended up in this position today,” Piri commented.