The European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri visited Turkish daily Cumhuriyet with other EU parliamentarians Elisabetta Pietrobon, Mariska Heijs and Jörgen Siil on 22 February. “Turkey’s situation is getting worse in every visit” said Piri.
The EP rapporteur also highlighted the imprisonment of journalists and restrictions on press freedom with the last emergency decree laws in Turkey. According to Piri, press freedom is crucial to the European Parliament’s monitoring of the level of democracy in a country.
She also said the actions of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were breaching the criterion of the EU.
Piri urged authorities to cancel the state of emergency saying, “Turkey would not be able to normalise easily.”
“Opposition lawmakers and journalists have been imprisoned and thousands of people have been dismissed from their duties due to the state of emergency, although the government said it would not affect the lives of citizens. There is a terror threat against Turkey, it is clear. But we are worried that labelling people as ‘terrorists’ has become easier and their right to defend themselves are not recognised,” she added.
Piri also visited the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Mehmet Gunal yesterday at the Turkish parliament.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet, Gunal criticised the EP during the meeting, saying that relations between Turkey and the EU turned into an unending relationship. “Either we get married, or you take your ring and leave,” said Gunal.
Piri said they would prepare a report, noting that they visited the MHP with the purpose of hearing their views. She also declared that the European Union must maintain cooperation with Turkey but that it was not realistic for Turkey to be integrated into the EU.
“If you evaluate the situation in Turkey from an economical aspect, as many European politicians did, you may ignore the oppression of journalists, opposition and human rights defenders. However, an unsteady and undemocratic Turkey will be a bigger threat than the refugee crisis for the EU in the long term.” Piri said.