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The EU must condition relations with Turkey on respect for democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law, Left MEPs have urged.

The European Parliament today debated the deteriorating situation in Turkey with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, following a request by the Left group, with a resolution to be voted on Thursday.

Erdoğan’s regime has escalated its attacks against the democratic opposition, in particular the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). In a motion to the Constitutional Court, the government has demanded the closure of the party and a ban on the exercise of political activities for around 451 HDP politicians.

Over a hundred HDP members, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, are currently on trial on bogus charges related to the 2014 protests in solidarity with Kobane. Thousands of HDP members remain in prison. Last month, an armed attack against the Party’s office in Izmir resulted in the killing of HDP member Deniz Poyraz. HDP is the third largest party in the Turkish parliament.

The Turkish government has continued its attacks on the free press, civil society and the right to protest. Meanwhile, the Council has announced the continuation of the refugee deal with Turkey, lauding a ‘positive agenda’ with Erdoğan, a move which MEP Özlem Demirel (DIE LINKE, Germany) has condemned:

“Once again, the fight to keep the Erdogan regime in power is being fought to the detriment of the democratic and Kurdish movements. The submission to the Turkish Constitutional Court to ban the HDP is the result of this political calculation. In addition, there are attempts to create chaos through paramilitary groups.

“The attack on the party office in Izmir, in which a young woman from the HDP, Deniz Poyraz, was killed in a savage way, is assessed by many observers as the beginning of a wave of attacks intended to create chaos and fear. It is particularly cynical to see the Commission and the Council speak of positive developments in relations with Turkey and the extension of the refugee deal as a success, while the Erdogan regime represses its own population and disregards the rights of refugees.”

For Nikolaj Villumsen (Enhedslisten, Denmark), the EU should end its status quo approach and stand on the side of pluralism in Turkey:

“The democratic opposition in Turkey needs our solidarity. Erdogan must be stopped. Selahattin Demirtaş and all political prisoners must be released. The EU must stop its shameful support for Erdogan and take action against the grave human rights violations.”

The Left’s resolution condemning the actions of the Turkish government: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/B-9-2021-0409_EN.html

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