ALDE Group leader, Guy Verhofstadt, said the European Parliament’s recommendation must implemented as soon as possible:
“Make no mistake, Turkey is an essential partner for the European Union when it comes to energy security, stabilising the region around Syria and Iraq and the fight against terrorism. However, it is wrong to pretend that we can advance on any of these fields by trampling on European values and principles, by closing our eyes as President Erdogan closes down independent media outlets, jails journalists and criminalises members of his Parliament.
By continuing the illusion of accession talks with an increasingly authoritarian regime, the EU is losing credibility, is fooling our citizens, and also betraying those Turkish citizens who look to Europe as their future.
The European Commission and Council must act immediately to freeze accession negotiations, with a commitment to reviewing the EU's position if the situation in Turkey improves.”
ALDE MEP, Alexander Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany), shadow rapporteur on Turkey and European Parliament’s Vice-President on Human Rights and Democracy, welcomes today’s decision:
“Turkey remains a neighbour and a strong and important partner of the EU. Therefore, we have to replace the accession process with a new and positive agenda, based on mutual respect and cooperation. There are many areas for a successful cooperation: energy, trade, science, culture and tourism. A renewed political dialogue must constitute the basis for our relationship.”