Antonio Tajani elected President of European Parliament, Turkish media scrutiny

Centre-right Italian MEP Antonio Tajani defeated his socialist opponent and fellow national Gianni Pittella after a day-long series of polls. The result was ensured by the liberal bloc and Mr Tajani’s European People’s Party (EPP), along with the more Eurosceptic rightwing European Conservatives and Reformists.

The Italian politician – and former journalist – is one of the founders of the Forza Italia party and served under Silvio Berlusconi in his first Government from 1994. Tajani’s EPP represents the largest political power in the European Parliament – the European People’s Party, lead by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“As European Parliament President, I commit myself to being neutral, serving all Europeans, focused on the things that really matter: security, migration, and jobs” Tajani, who will succeed German Social Democrat Martin Schulz, said in his statement after the poll victory.

Tajani was immediately scrutinised by the Turkish press which focused on his statement regarding the voting of the resolution on the Armenian Genocide last year:
“We punish not the current, but the former Turks. If the same thing was done against the Turks, we would behave the same way. Recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Turkey will not lose its importance”.

Turkish press also highlighted Tajani’s speech at a press conference in Limassol in 2009. Tajani had said he looked forward to the lifting of Turkish embargoes on Cyprus, as the EU had asked, and that Turkey could only join the EU if it followed certain rules.