EU Parliament strongly criticizes Turkish violence
by Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian
Brussels, 8 February 2018 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - EU Parliament condemns Turkey on human rights and the military offensive against Kurdish region Afrin. EP asks for conditional EU funds for Ankara depending on human rights record. At the same time more than 60 MEPs from different political groups and the entire S&D Group asked for immediate stop of the Turkish offensive in Afrin.
In a resolution approved with large majority by all political groups, MEPs condemned the human rights situation in Turkey and requested that the funds destined for Turkey under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) should be conditional on improving its record on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
In recent weeks, many journalists, activists, doctors and ordinary citizens were arrested for expressing their opposition to Turkey’s military intervention in Kurdish Afrin (Syria). The general crackdown of opposition in Turkey has already started after the failed coup attempt on 16 July 2016 and continues now for more than two years under different forms.
During the plenary debates preceding the vote, Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs expressed her concern about the situation in Rojava: “The Afrin offensive could have political consequences on the internal balances inside the future Syria, on the region at large and on the potential for political negotiations, because the new escalation of violence could push further away the chances of a political solution to the conflict”.
Mogherini also deplored the human rights situation in Turkey pointing out that “violations have continued, affecting prominent civil society figures, users of social media, medical staff, and the list could continue. This is on top of the initial violations we have seen in recent years, which have not been resolved”.
“Human rights and fundamental freedoms should apply to all Turkish citizens, to all of them in the same way”, stressed EU High Representative Mogherini.
MEPs: EU cannot turn blind eye to the violence in Afrin
During the plenary debates on Turkey, more than 60 MEPs from different political groups and the entire S&D Group asked for immediate stop of the Turkish offensive in Afrin and protection of the entire Kurdish population.
In S&D Group press release, Group Vice-president Victor Boştinaru called the Turkish military intervention “indiscriminate targeting” and “attack against the entire Kurdish population of Afrin”.
“The People´s Protection Units (YPG) assured a great contribution in the fight against Daesh...The European Union can no longer remain silent and still”, underlined Bostinaru.
Knut Fleckenstein, S&D Spokesperson on foreign affairs, said Turkish actions in Afrin are “against any rules of the international law” and all efforts should concentrate on combating Daesh and other UN-designated terrorist groups in Syria, not on targeting civilians.
Earlier this week, more than 60 MEPs from different countries and political groups asked EU and UN to take immediate actions against Turkish offensive in Afrin.
“This Turkish military operation is taking place without any provocation or attack by either Kurds in this region, or by Syria... The destabilization that Turkey’s attack will cause in this area seriously threatens the security of the entire region. The silence or equidistance of the European Union and the international community is not an option”, say the European Parliamentarians in their common declaration.
They also stress the major contribution of the Kurdish fighters to the European security in the front line against Daesh and ask for inclusion of Kurds in the Geneva talks on Syria.