The European Parliament’s latest annual report adopted earlier in the week slams Turkey on its close ties to Russia and criticizes its human human rights record.
The report takes a critical stance on Turkey’s interactions with Russia, especially against the backdrop of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. It reveals a “significant decline in Turkey’s alignment with EU Foreign and Defence Policy, plummeting to a mere 7% in 2021”.
While acknowledging Turkey’s constructive role in “facilitating talks between Ukraine and Russia”, the report accuses Ankara of “not restricting the operations of Russian media outlets in the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”.
Trade relations between Russia and Turkey have surged, “nearly doubling since the start of the war in Ukraine”. It prompts the European Commission to evaluate the implications of this trade boom on EU-imposed sanctions.
The document also highlights the influx of Russian nationals, including high-profile oligarchs, into key Turkish cities and coastal regions.
On human rights the report states that Turkey is “bound by the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights,” referring to the landmark rulings in the high-profile cases involving Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala.
Regarding Turkey’s EU aspirations, the report firmly states that Turkey “needs to credibly demonstrate its commitment to closer relations and alignment with the EU”. It advocates for a more robust and strategic relationship between Turkey and the EU.
The report doesn’t hold back on critiquing Turkey’s geopolitical maneuvers either. It calls on Ankara to “refrain from all actions which violate the sovereignty and sovereign rights of all EU Member States and are in breach of international and EU law”, referring to ongoing tensions with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey dismisses European Parliament report
Turkey’s foreign ministry criticized the report as “shallow and non-visionary,” especially at a moment when Ankara and Brussels are in efforts to revive the ties.
“The report, as a collection of unfounded allegations and prejudices based on disinformation by anti-Türkiye circles, is a reflection of EP’s well-known shallow and non-visionary approach not only towards Türkiye-EU relations but also towards the future of the EU.
“This report, unfortunately, demonstrates that the EP members are captives of populist daily politics, and away from developing the right strategic approach to the EU, as well as to our region,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry late on Sept. 13.
The ministry also highlighted the report’s approach on the situation in the eastern Mediterranean as well as on the Cyprus question, stressing the allegations are detached from historical and legal facts and, therefore, null and void.