EP Rapporteur to Turkey, Kati Piri.

15/06/2016 - 11:14 0
No Visa Deal for Turkey if HDP MPs Jailed

The European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Turkey, Kati Piri, spoke during a panel discussion in the EP Foreign Relations Committee in Brussels alongside HDP Co-President Selahattin Demirtaş.

Piri commented on the lifting of HDP parliamentarians’ immunities, and emphasised that the EP would never approve the visa agreement if Turkey jails even a single HDP parliamentarian.

Addressing Selahattin Demirtaş, Piri said "The European Parliament will never sign the visa agreement if you (Selahattin Demirtaş) or your colleagues (HDP parliamentarians) are imprisoned."

Piri said that the majority of the European Parliament was critical of Turkey in many areas, and that HDP was the main target of the lifting of immunities.

Turkey has refused to reform its anti-terror laws as a prerequisite for visa-free travel between Turkey and the EU. Anti-terror laws are being used to prosecute academics, journalists and opposition parties.

Recently the European Union's top envoy to Turkey, Hansjoerg Haber also resigned, a month after he was summoned by Turkey's foreign ministry over comments critical of Ankara's handling of the landmark migration deal.

Turkish officials took offense at his use of an unflattering German saying, cited in local newspapers, to describe how a plan to ease visa restrictions for Turks traveling to Europe, part of the wider migrant deal, had run into problems.