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Pittella: Erdoğan using military coup as excuse to stifle Turkish democracy – visa liberalisation must be halted


22 Jul 2016


Europe's East
Justice & Home Affairs

In the aftermath of the attempted military coup in Turkey – strongly condemned by the S&D Group – President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is constantly weakening the rule of law across the whole country by detaining thousands of alleged political opponents, oppressing the democratic opposition and further limiting the freedom of the press. Using the attempted military coup as an excuse, Erdogan is turning Turkey's democracy into a de facto authoritarian presidential system.  
Gianni Pittella MEP, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, warned:
"The S&D Group cannot remain silent in the face of this outrage and the evident breaches of the rule of lawgan and human rights, and we want to make clear that the talks preparing for visa-free travel for Turkish citizens must be suspended. No proposal concerning this issue can be adopted under the current circumstances.
"We remind the Turkish authorities that as a candidate for EU membership, Turkey must fully comply with the Copenhagen criteria. The reintroduction of the death penalty and the suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights in Turkey go in completely the opposite direction.
"Europe cannot show any hesitation in defending our common values and principles, and we certainly cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed by a possible calling off of the existing agreement on refugees.
"In these dramatic hours for Turkey, the S&D Group stands beside and supports the efforts of opposition parties willing to defend the rule of law and respect for human rights in Turkey."