EP Turkey rapporteur says ‘geopolitics not an excuse for deficit of democracy’

Nacho Sánchez Amor

The process for Turkey’s accession to the European Union cannot simply be overridden by geopolitics, European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor said in a statement issued following his recent visit to Ankara.

According to the rapporteur, EU membership is intrinsically linked to the state of democracy in a country and in the case of Turkey “we can only speak of [a] lack of progress.”

Amor traveled to Ankara for a fact-finding mission December 19-20. The visit was scheduled as part of preparations for the upcoming annual report on Turkey and included a wide range of contacts with high-level officials in the government, members of parliament and think tanks as well as representatives of political parties and civil society.

The annual report on Turkey will be presented and discussed in 2023, with due respect to the pre-electoral phase the country is expected to be in. By established convention, progress reports on accession countries are not voted on close to elections.

Amor, who held a press conference on Tuesday at the EU Delegation in Ankara to share his assessment of the mission before returning to Brussels, stated that aligning with the EU meant aligning with a certain model of society and that the model the Turkish government was offering was, conversely, “characterized by authoritarian rule and an absence of checks and balances.”

“… We are concerned about human rights and the rule of law. There is no progress in these areas. … The judiciary is unpredictable,” Amor said, adding that the recent conviction of Ekrem İmamoğlu made him a kind of “political hostage.”

A court last week sentenced İmamoğlu, the mayor of İstanbul from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a key opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to more than two years in prison and barred him from politics for allegedly insulting members of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK).

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