European Parliament votes to suspend Turkey accession talks if red lines crossed

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 21:18:40|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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STRASBOURG, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted in a resolution here on Thursday to formally suspend European Union (EU) accession talks with Ankara if proposed constitutional reforms are implemented without amendment in Turkey.

Voting in a large majority of 477 in favor to 64 against, with 97 abstentions, MEPs voiced their concern that the reforms, approved during a constitutional referendum on April 16, and which would transform Turkey into a presidential republic, would not adequately protect the separation of powers and provide for a system of checks and balances between government branches.

The parliamentarians also criticized statements from Turkish President Recep Erdogan that he was in favor of reintroducing capital punishment. Such a move which would put in jeopardy Turkey's membership in the Council of Europe, a pan-European organization that includes the European Court of Human Rights and to which Ankara is one of six highest-level budgetary contributors. It would also bring about an immediate end to EU accession talks.

The resolution acknowledged recent difficulties faced by Turkey, including heavy migration flows from neighbouring Syria and an attempted coup-d'etat in July 2016, but criticized the measures undertaken in the state of emergency that has been in place since.

MEPs also recognized the importance of strong EU-Turkish relations in the fight against terrorism and in facing migration challenges. They supported upgrading the EU-Turkey Customs Union, but on the condition that agreements on rights and governance are met.

The European Parliament plans to send an ad-hoc delegation to Ankara in the autumn to relaunch parliamentary dialogue.