The European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor, voiced a historically strong criticism of the Turkish political administration on Monday before the vote on the Turkey report.
He said that in an environment ‘in which principles and values tend to give ground to crude geopolitical considerations’, Ankara based its policies on a ‘miscalculation’ by assuming that as Turkey was useful from a geopolitical standpoint, all criticism from the West must stop.
“This is a very detrimental blur,” he added.
“And so, at the heart of the report lies the current disastrous state of democratic standards in Turkey. Even more seriously, this is not only a matter of its poor state, but the consolidated tendency to worsen. Other authoritarian systems are authoritarian because they have not matured sufficiently from their dictatorial pasts, or because they have slowed down or stopped their democratising impulse. This is not Turkey’s case. Rather, Turkey’s case concerns a more of a deliberate regression from a better situation. Most Turkish adults have experienced a better Turkey, a more democratic, more advanced, more open and less isolated Turkey. For Turkey, an emerging democracy is not an intellectual aspiration, but the vital experience of several generations of Turks; Turkish men and women who witness how their democratic hopes go down the drain in an authoritarian spiral that seems to have no end. An authoritarian character that is, at this point, when all alibis have failed; a state policy, fully deliberate, programmed and executed -with terrifying coldness- by the ruling elite. A repression over an increasingly helpless sectarian-informed society. Maintained with media doses that prove pathological of a nationalism that puts the rights of the nation far above the happiness of its citizens. The core of the report reflects this situation.”
‘Accession process cannot survive for another five years’
He stated that the situation got worse by each day with further violations, and in case the coming elections confirmed this tendency, the accession process cannot survive for another five years.
“During these past few days we have had to add, via amendments, new cases of rights violations. Should have we waited a couple more weeks, more would have appeared; some of which, even publicly announced. In a few months, it is likely that the third party in the country, the HDP, voted by almost 6 million Turkish citizens, and which won almost 100 mayorships, is illegalised. All of that just to go to elections with fewer obstacles. If these future elections confirm this tendency, I personally cannot believe that the accession process can survive for another five years. Despite it being our best leverage to sustain the battered civil society.”
‘Turkey is not in our camp’
Sánchez Amor also criticised the policies Turkey has been pursuing since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, and stressed that Turkey’s geopolitical role was no longer clear. “If the war clearly marks the divide between democracies and authoritarian systems, it is obvious that Turkey is not in our camp,” he concluded.
He began by saying:
“Moreover, the war has offered Turkey an apportunity to assert itself as an important security actor. Turkey’s attempt at mediation was welcomed, even if it failed. What Turkey cannot expect to do is pretend that, given this geopolitical role, now is the time to accelerate repression, meanwhile silencing external criticism. What Turkey is really doing is squandering its meagre international credibility, reinforcing its bad image, and highlighting its isolation. And this Parliament will certainly not remain silent in the face of recent outrageous violations, such as those of Kavala, Kaftancioglu, Kiliç, or the Bogaziçi University.”
“Regardless of Turkey’s geopolitical role, a role that is by no means clear at this stage, it is not only not joining the sanctions, it is expressly inviting Kremlin kleptocrats to enjoy and invest on the Turkish coast; it is issuing credit cards to thousands of Russian citizens; it is the exponential increase of flights between Russia and Turkey; it is the transit through the straits of civilian merchant ships which may contain armament, or the lack of progress in the export of cereals from Odessa. Taken altogether, these measures amount to something that looks very much like a system for bypassing sanctions. If the war clearly marks the divide between democracies and authoritarian systems, it is obvious that Turkey is not in our camp. The model of society that Erdoğan offers to Turkey is the Russian one.”
‘With military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Iraq or Syria, Turkey is not in our camp’
He added that Turkey’s military operations in foreign soil were another indication that they were not in the same camp.
“If the war clearly marks the divison between countries that stand for international relations based on law and not force of arms, it is obvious that Turkey, with its military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Iraq or Syria, is not in our camp.
‘Turkey has a problem with democracy’
He went on to say that it was a mockery that Turkey lectured Sweden on Swedish counter-terrorist legislation considering the use it does of its own counter-terrorist legislation.
“If the war clearly marks the division between military allies an rivals, it is obvious that Turkey, with its irresponsible (NATO) veto to Sweden and Finland, is making a coveted gift to the Kremlin. Turkey does not have a problem with Sweden or Finland. Turkey has a problem with democracy. As this report shows.”
“Does Turkey think that Sweden and Finland are happy about incorporating to an alliance that counts among its members a country in possession of the same kind of Russian missiles that could theoretically target them? Isn’t it a mockery that Turkey allows itself to lecture Sweden on Swedish counter-terrorist legislation? Especially when there is an universal clamour on the use Turkey does of its own counter-terrorist legislation. Mayhaps Turkey is wasting its penultimate chance. Blame this Turkish government, however not Turkey’s civil society.”