ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—The situation in Turkey is worsening on every visit, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri said February 22 during a visit to daily Cumhuriyet with other EU parliamentarians Elisabetta Pietrobon, Mariska Heijs and Jörgen Siil.
Piri said it was upsetting to see journalists in jail due to their journalistic activities, stating that it was even worse to see this situation in a country that is in EU accession talks.
“We have been trying to visit daily Cumhuriyet on every visit to Turkey. But unfortunately, the situation in Turkey is getting worse. Press rights and the treatment against press members are crucial for the European Parliament. Because it expresses the situation of the democracy in a country,” she said.
She also said they observed the actions of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying that they were breaching the criterion of the EU.
Piri urged for the lift of the state of emergency, adding that regardless of the outcome of the constitutional referendum, Turkey would not be able to normalize easily.
“I do not believe that Turkey can enter a process of normalization until the state of emergency is lifted, the referendum results are regardless of this. Opposition lawmakers and journalists have been jailed and thousands of people have been dismissed from their duties during the state of emergency, which the government said it would not affect the lives of citizens. There is a terror threat against Turkey, it is clear. But we are worried that mentioning ‘terrorists’ has become easy and their right to defend themselves are not given,” she said.
Meanwhile, Piri visited Mehmet Günal, the deputy chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Feb. 22 at the Turkish parliament.
Günal criticized the European Parliament during their meeting, saying that relations between Turkey and the EU turned into an unending relationship. “Either we get married, or you take your ring and go away,” he said.
He stated that Turkey’s perception of the EU, which was previously 70 percent positive and 30 percent negative, had now reversed.
Piri said they would prepare a report, noting that they visited the MHP with the purpose of hearing their views.