What needs to be monitored is the union itself

Published 27.04.2017 02:04

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in which Ankara is a founding member, voted to reinstate monitoring procedures in Turkey that it had previously ended in 2004.

According to the resolution, which was approved by a vote of 113 to 45 in the 318-seat Parliament, Turkey became the first country to be taken under monitoring after a period of post-monitoring dialogue. Well, what made PACE bring in a new practice and a move in such a mad rush?

The state of emergency that the Turkish state declared following the July 15 coup attempt, the perspective of counterterrorism and debates over the reinstatement of capital punishment were among the first officially announced reasons. The assembly even mentions the recent constitutional referendum, which concerns the sovereign rights of a prospective EU member like Turkey.

Let us summarize the statements the Turkish government made in response to these claims by PACE.

The declaration of the state of emergency after the July 15 coup attempt was done by invoking the right to self-defense that international agreements grant to sovereign states. In fact, EU member countries such as France have exercised and are still exercising this right against acts of violence that cannot be compared to the threat of terror in Turkey, never mind a coup attempt. Moreover, ballot boxes were also established under the circumstances of the state of emergency in Paris just a couple of days ago.

The supervision of state of emergency conditions in Turkey is also under the watch of the Turkish judiciary, which is compatible with the European acquis and Article 90 of the Constitution, which puts international agreements ahead of local law.

As for debates on the reinstatement of capital punishment… There is no concrete proposal, nor an initiative on the subject, which is being discussed by the public and politicians.

PACE is not employing a well-intentioned attitude when its reports echo populist manifestations of politics in the face of angry Turkish voters who have lost many civilians in terrorist attacks in recent years as the "steps of a concrete reactionary reform."

The Turkish public, aware of these facts, interprets PACE's decision as support for terrorist groups such as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the PKK and Daesh, all of which have overtly declared war against Turkey.

Commentators like me who try to preserve their good intentions want to believe that Turkey is being sacrificed to the rising racism and populism in Europe now.

The reactions are so pervasive that even the opposition in Turkey considers PACE's decision unfair, although it does not hesitate to manipulate EU institutions from time to time to undermine the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government that it cannot overthrow at the ballot box.

Of course, PACE does not fully represent the EU. However, unless the EU operates its mechanisms and takes a step to compensate for this mistake, it will have sacrificed not only its relations with Turkey, but also the future of the union.

In fact, while some European countries come up with fascistic proposals like deporting pro-Erdoğan EU citizens from Europe, a union that cracks down on a prospective member like Turkey, which fought a coup and holds back the tide of a global wave of terror, cannot remain attractive even for Eastern European countries for a long time. This is even more impossible after the surprising result of the U.K.'s Brexit referendum, which is still fresh in our collective memories.

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