Turkish intelligence service is investigating the motive of the suspect in #Utrecht shooting. President Erdogan has announced, according to reports of Reuters news agency from Ankara. The intelligence services investigate whether there is a terrorist motive and trace or whether the suspect had a different impulse. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns” the attack.
The intelligence services have launched an investigation into possible ties of the assailant with the terrorist groups, namely if he had contacts in Chechnya, or in Islamic State (ISIS).
Reacting upon the severe political and democratic regress, the European Parliament recommended suspending EU accession negotiations with Turkey.
“If the EU takes its own values seriously, no other conclusion is possible than to formally suspend the talks on EU integration. Our repeated calls to respect fundamental rights have fallen on deaf ears in Ankara. On top of the severe human rights violations, the dismantling of the rule of law and the fact that Turkey holds the world record for the number of journalists in jail, the recently amended constitution consolidates Erdoğan’s authoritarianism” Dutch Socialist MEP Kati Piri Rapporteur on Turkey said.
Kati Piri believes that the definitive closure of the accession talks, suggested by ENF group is a wrong move, rejecting those forces, who desire change and who share European values. Although fully admitting that today’s Turkey does not match the Copenhagen criteria, she considers crucial to keep the door open for possible positive changes in the future.
“I realize that stopping the accession talks is not a step which will help Turkey’s democrats. For that, the EU leaders must use all possible tools to exert more pressure on the Turkish government. The Parliament, therefore, calls for dedicated funds to be made available to support civil society, journalists and human rights defenders in Turkey. In addition, modernising the customs union must remain conditional on clear improvements in the field of human rights. And more efforts must be put into people-to-people exchange programmes” MEP added.
A resolution was adopted March 13 by 370 votes in favour, 109 against with 143 abstentions. Kati Piri thanked her all those who participate in working on the resolution, including shadow rapporteurs.
The EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting will take place on 26 March at the Evksinograd residence in Varna, Bulgaria.
It will bring together Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (pictured), and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey.
This working dinner will be an occasion to assess matters of mutual interest and recent developments in Turkey, including the country’s illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and its involvement in Syria.
At their last EU summit on 22-23 March, EU leaders called on Turkey to respect Cyprus’ sovereign rights to explore and exploit its natural resources, in line with EU and international law.
They also recalled Turkey‘s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus.
Furthermore, the European Union expressed its grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey. It called for the swift and positive resolution of these issues.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said supports Qatar’s response to a list of demands issued by Arab states boycotting the Gulf emirate, and underlined that the calls for a closure of Turkish military base there were disrespectful.
Qatar has described the pressure by its larger neighbours as an “illegal blockade” aimed at curbing its sovereignty, and insisted that the ultimatum by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain was unreasonable.
The European Court of Auditors is to audit EU financial support for Turkey. Turkey is the single largest beneficiary of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), with more than 40 % of all IPA allocations. During the 2007-2013 period, Turkey was allocated €4.48 billion, of which €2.68 billion was committed and €2.19 billion paid out. Since 2014, a further €1.65 billion has been allocated but not yet paid out.
“Turkey is the EU’s largest beneficiary of external aid and a strategic partner in the key policy areas of foreign affairs, defence, migration, the fight against terrorism and trade. But up to now we have never audited the effectiveness of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance to Turkey,” said Mr Hans Gustaf Wessberg, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.
The aim of the IPA is to support the accession process and the underlying reforms in Turkey. However, there is currently little progress in Turkey’s accession negotiations, and reforms have been backsliding in recent years.
Turkey announced it would strip 130 persons of citizenship for allerged militant links, including the U.S.-based cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gülen blamed for ingeneering last July’s coup, unless they all return to the country within three months.
In a list of what it called fugitives from justice, the interior ministry named Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Faysal Sariyildiz and Tugba Hezer, and former HDP lawmaker Ozdal Ucer.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has repeatedly denied involvement in the coup and publically condemned it.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on the European Union must open new chapters in Turkey’s accession process, otherwise Ankara had nothing to discuss with the bloc and would say “goodbye”.
“From now on there is no option other than opening the chapters you have not yet opened. If you do not open (them), goodbye,” Erdogan said at a ceremony to mark his return to the ruling AK Party.
His comments came after European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who oversees EU membership bids, told Reuters Turkey under Erdogan had turned its back on joining the bloc.