The European Parliament (EP) voted on Thursday to temporarily suspend Turkey's accession to the 27-state bloc despite the popular opposition by the European Union member states' foreign ministers, which was voiced during an EU foreign ministers meeting on Nov. 14. Turkey's EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik stressed that the decision is "a non-binding political decision" and is not expected to cause serious implications between Ankara and the European Union (EU). EU minister and chief negotiator speaking in a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Adana described the controversial resolution as "null and void" and not to be taken seriously.
The resolution was passed with 479 votes in favor of the resolution to temporarily halt the negotiations with Turkey while 37 were against and 107 abstained. According to the statement released by the EP, the "temporary halt of the negotiations would entail that no new negotiating chapters be opened and no new initiatives be taken in relation to Turkey's EU Negotiation Framework." Only Austria has voiced opposition to the continuation of Turkey's accession talks during the recent foreign ministers meeting among the 27-member bloc. Regardless of the EP statement, Minister Çelik stressed that the decision is not to be taken seriously due to its "visionless" status. "The decision is not a result of a crisis between Turkey and the EU, rather a reflection of the crisis that the EP is experiencing in the scope of its values," Çelik added.
While noting that suspending accession talks can only be decided by the EU Commission, Çelik repeated that the EP's decision threatens EU institutions. Urging the EU to become a visionary institution, Çelik branded the vote as an "undemocratic" and "narrow-minded" decision, saying it "has no vision."
Reminding that while the European map is altering and the European institutions must follow close cooperation with Turkey for the sake of democracy and prosperity, the Turkish minister affirmed that they are doing the complete opposite. He also drew attention to the legal responsibility of the EU Commission and the EU-member states. On that note, a number of EU officials have previously stressed upon the necessity of continuing longstanding membership talks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel in fact said recently on Tuesday she is in favor of maintaining a dialogue with Turkey, as she urged to keep channels of communication open.
Though the EP has adopted the controversial resolution, numbers of EU officials have previously stressed upon the necessity of continuing the longstanding membership talks. German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she is in favor of maintaining a dialogue with Turkey, as she urged to keep the channels of communication open. "I will also keep talks going with Turkey," Merkel said during a general debate in the German parliament. Also before leaving for a one-day visit to Ankara, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters, "Turkey is too important to us, not least because of the close personal ties between our two countries, that we could afford to renounce dialogue, particularly in these difficult times."
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson warned to not "overreact" regarding Turkey as he said, "We should not push Turkey into a corner, we should not overreact in a way that is against our collective interests." Earlier last month, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, "Turkey is a very important partner in the collective defense and also a NATO member. Turkey as a modern Muslim country has had, and will continue to have, a place in Europe."
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, similarly cautioned earlier in the week that halting Turkey's accession process would be a "lose-lose" move. She said, "If the accession process came to an end, we would both find ourselves in a lose-lose scenario. Europe would lose an important channel for dialogue, and leverage, with Turkey. Turkey would lose a lot. And we would all lose an opportunity for greater friendship and cooperation among our people." Mogherini reaffirming on Tuesday that "Turkish authorities have a legitimate right to hold the perpetrators of the coup and of terrorist attacks accountable for their actions," the active Members of the European Parliament claimed the resolution was adopted following "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey. In addition to the EU foreign policy chief's remarks, EP President Martin Schulz said last Friday that he hopes Turkey will not give up on negotiations for the country to be part of the EU, and that such a move would not be a win for Europe.
Analogous to German officials, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson warned to not "overreact" regarding Turkey as he said, "We should not push Turkey into a corner, we should not overreact in a way that is against our collective interests." Earlier last month, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, "Turkey is a very important partner in collective defense and also a 'NATO member.' Turkey as a modern Muslim country has had and will continue to have a place in Europe."