European Parliament rapporteur Kati Piri tells Haber there has been a ‘double standard’ from the EU
By Edward Rowe
The EU has broken promises it made to Turkey during its turbulent accession process, the European Parliament’s rapporteur told Haber in an exclusive interview.
Kati Piri, who reports to the chamber on progress in Turkey’s EU accession talks, said relations between the two sides remained tense and had “known better times”, but that she was determined not to let down the people of Turkey.
In a wide-ranging interview that was conducted just before last Sunday’s referendum, Ms Piri:
- Admitted the EU had been “ready to promise anything” so long as there was a deal on refugees;
- Defended last November’s European Parliament vote to freeze Turkish membership talks;
- Predicted an early general election in Turkey, irrespective of Sunday’s referendum outcome.
“When it comes to the refugees, we did not appreciate and praise Turkey enough for what they did by hosting millions of refugees mainly from Syria, but also Iraq and Afghanistan for five years,” Ms Piri said during the interview in Brussels.
“The EU only wanted to engage the problem when it came directly to Europe, which is not a fair policy to a strategic partner like Turkey.”
She continued: “Of course there were some promises made which the EU did not keep, like large scale re-settlement of refugees from Turkey.
“We have only re-settled a bit more than 2,000 people in the last twelve months to 28 member states while Turkey is still hosting around three million.
“So it is absolutely true that the EU did not or did not yet deliver on this part of the promise.”
Ms Piri also defended the European Parliament’s vote last November to freeze Turkey’s membership talks. The motion was an attempt to pressure the Turkish government following its widescale crackdown in the wake of the July 2016 military coup attempt.
Although symbolic – because the decision to freeze rests with the EU’s 28 member states and not the parliament – Turkey criticised it as showing “a lack of vision”.
Ms Piri said the parliament’s vote was about Europe’s values.
“[It] was not because I don’t believe in accession, it’s because I do believe in it,” she said. “You’re joining a community based on values which means there are limits even if you are a candidate country.”
She added: “But of course, it takes two to tango and the EU has made many mistakes in the past when it comes to the accession process, we haven’t been fair always, so there’s a lot to say from Turkey’s side that there has been a double standard from the EU.”
The full interview can be read by following this link.