Freeze EU accession negotiations with Turkey

24 February 2017
Powerful signal to Erdogan

Following the federal parliament, the Flemish majority parties in the Flemish Parliament are now also asking for Turkey’s accession procedure to be frozen and the European Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) to be scrapped. “In the light of the worsening human rights situation and the decline in democracy in Turkey, there has never been a better time to send a clear signal,” says Member of the Flemish Parliament, Karl Vanlouwe. “Governments that cripple civil liberties do not deserve the prospect of acceding to the EU.”

It has already been clear for a few years that Turkey is evolving in the wrong direction under Erdoğan’s rule. “Turkey is increasingly opting for an authoritarian tack, which is at loggerheads with our European standards and values,” says Karl Vanlouwe. “And after last year’s failed coup attempt, the human rights situation has only gotten worse.” The figures speak volumes: since the coup, 10 MPs have been arrested, 150 journalists locked up, 24 radio and television stations taken off the air, 4 billion euros of real estate seized, 2,368 judges and public prosecutors arrested and there are currently more than 31,000 people in custody. In total more than 129,000 officials have been suspended or dismissed.

“The accession negotiations were started more than 10 years ago,” notes Member of the Flemish Parliament Karim Van Overmeire. “In all these years, only 1 membership chapter could be completed, 15 chapters are still in negotiation, and 17 others have not even been cracked open. It is high time we put an end to this two steps forward, three steps back affair.”

Halt financial support

The EU is providing approximately 4.45 billion euros to Turkey for the 2014-2020 period in support of its preparations for a future membership, among other things through the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law. “We note that this goal is not in any way being achieved,” says Member of the Flemish Parliament, Jan Van Esbroeck. “And it’s for this reason that we think this support must be scrapped.”

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