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S&Ds: With the sentence against Osman Kavala, Turkey has demolished any perspective of putting the EU accession process back on track


05 May 2022


Justice & Home Affairs

By sentencing Osman Kavala to life in prison, the current government of Turkey has closed the door on itself to the EU path. If Turkey, an EU candidate country, wants to see any progress on the European accession process, Kavala should be released immediately.

On the initiative of the S&Ds, the European Parliament is to adopt tomorrow a strong resolution condemning last week’s ruling by the Istanbul court, imposing an aggravated life sentence on Osman Kavala. The text calls on Turkey to fully implement all judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and immediately release Kavala and the other 7 defendants in the so called ‘Gezi’ trial.

Kavala, a prominent philanthropist and a leading figure in building a more tolerant and open Turkey, has already unlawfully spent more than four and a half years in prison, accused of trying to overthrow the government. The ECtHR ruled in December 2019 that Kavala’s detention was unjustified and politically motivated. S&Ds believe that Kavala is innocent and has been convicted for the purpose of silencing him as a human rights defender and for deterring critical voices in Turkey.

Socialists and Democrats also condemn Hungary for recently blocking a common EU 27 declaration after Kavala’s conviction. This, once again, confirms it is time to end the veto in EU foreign policy.

In today’s plenary debate, Nacho Sánchez Amor, S&D MEP and the European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, said:

“The recent sentence against Osman Kavala is not just a cruel punishment on an innocent man and a mockery of justice. It is a clear political message by the current Turkish authorities, who are perfectly aware of the political consequences of their blatant defiance of the ECtHR rulings, a court that is part of Turkey’s judiciary system.

It is therefore the current government of Turkey - not this Parliament, not the Commission, not the Council, nor any member state - who has deliberately demolished on its own any perspective of putting the EU accession process back on track. They have closed that door which will only be opened to a different Turkey.

The EU and Turkey will obviously have to have the best possible relationship in many fields, as two neighbouring countries, particularly taking into account the current challenging times. But Turkey should not take advantage of its role of mediation in the Russian war against Ukraine to further deepen its authoritarian trend domestically. At least it will not happen with the silence of this Parliament, and we hope it will not happen either with the silence of the Commission nor the Council.”




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