S&Ds backed resolution on Turkey and call for real dialogue

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament welcomed the resolution on Turkey adopted today. The resolution demands an immediate end to the violence and the release of imprisoned activists. It condemns Prime Minister Erdoğan’s inflammatory rhetoric and calls for serious reforms to guarantee fundamental rights in Turkey.

Libor Rouček, S&D vice-president, said: „The Parliament took a robust position in defence of European values today, thanks to the S&D Group’s lead, which pushed Turkey onto the plenary agenda.

„Sadly, the Turkish government – and Prime Minister Erdoğan in particular – have so far shunned calls for moderation and real dialogue, choosing to respond to the protesters‘ legitimate demands with police brutality and political ignorance.

„The recent proposal for a referendum on the Gezi Park project is an encouraging sign, but it goes nowhere near far enough. The protest movement now transcends the issue of Gezi Park – it is about democratic accountability and respect for fundamental rights.

„Therefore, a wider and more inclusive dialogue must take place, and the constitutional process offers a unique platform for it. The government should use it to engage all opposition movements and civil society in a national conversation on the future of Turkish democracy. It is the only credible path toward political stability.

„The EU also has a critical role to play. The protests have demonstrated the vibrancy of Turkish civil society, underlining the need to keep Turkey’s European vision alive. Opening chapters 23 and 24 of the negotiations on joining the EU – on judiciary and fundamental freedoms – would offer a practical tool for addressing the numerous deficiencies in these areas, which are crucial to consolidating democracy in Turkey.“

S&D spokesperson on human rights Richard Howitt MEP, who is due to travel to Turkey next week with a group from the foreign affairs committee, said:

„Mr Erdoğan, you cannot promote democracy in Syria but not do so at home. You cannot extinguish the memory of being a political prisoner yourself by putting your own political opponents in jail.

„We’ve seen progress on judicial reform and on the Kurdish issue, but the response to this crisis shows the need for further reforms of the police, on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and we will continue to argue for the opening of EU negotiating chapters 23 and 24 to help achieve this.“