Ahead of the visit to Ankara on 6 April by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, Renew Europe called for any new relationship with Turkey to be based on fundamental democratic values.
No offer of improved economic relations is possible without clear commitments from Turkey on human rights, media freedom, the rule of law, and a reversal of the slide to autocracy and nationalist rhetoric witnessed in recent years.
Dacian Cioloș, President of Renew Europe commented ahead of the visit:
“Cooperation between the European Union and Turkey is in our mutual interest, but any deepening of EU-Turkey relations must be based first and foremost on respect of fundamental democratic rights."
“While we welcome the de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, if President Erdoğan wants to return to a fruitful partnership with the EU, he needs to build upon the first positive signals of re-engagement, in accordance with international law.”
Renew Europe has raised grave concerns, in particular, over President Erdoğan’s recent decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence:
“The withdrawal of Turkey's signature from the Istanbul Convention is an unacceptable and shameful gesture. We call on President Erdoğan to reverse this shameful step”, Dacian Cioloș concluded.
Hilde Vautmans MEP (Open Vld, Belgium), Renew Europe Group’s coordinator in the AFET Committee and shadow rapporteur on Turkey, added:
"The visit to Ankara by Michel and von der Leyen looks like another mission doomed to fail if our EU position is not strong and firm enough. While the EU accession process should align Turkey's policies, actions and values with those of the EU, we see quite the opposite today. In recent years, our relationship with Turkey has become problematic on many fronts. It therefore certainly is too soon for a positive agenda, but it might not be too late to review the current framework and explore new models for our relations."