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European Parliament Votes in Favor of Resolution to Freeze Turkey's Accession

CC0 / Pixabay / Turkish and EU flags
Turkish and EU flags - Sputnik International
The European Parliament has voted on Thursday in favor of a non-binding resolution on freezing Turkey's EU accession talks.

The 751-member legislative body voted 479 in favor and 37 against the non-binding resolution in a roll-call broadcast on the EP's audiovisual service. A total of 107 EU lawmakers abstained.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos (File) - Sputnik International
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EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on November 4 that the EU was "gravely concerned" by the crackdown in Turkey after the July coup attempt. European politicians are dissatisfied with renewed attempts to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey, as well as by closures of media outlets, arrests of journalists and Kurdish opposition leaders that have rocked the country after a military faction made an unsuccessful bid to overthrow the Turkish president on July 15-16.

Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005. The negotiations on Turkish EU membership have been repeatedly suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying press freedom, among other obstacles.

In Thursday’s resolution, European Parliament lawmakers condemned "disproportionate repressive measures" taken by the government in the aftermath of the abortive coup, claiming they violated "basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution."

The temporary halt of the EU’s accession talks with Turkey means no new negotiating chapters will be opened, although lawmakers underscored that Ankara remained the union’s important partner. They vowed to review their position once restrictive measures were lifted.

Turkish Supporters are silhouetted against a screan showing President Tayyip Erdogan during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara, Turkey, July 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The resolution's text was augmented with a phrase that the European Parliament was worried by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critical statement on the Lausanne Treaty.

The 1923 treaty was signed following World War I and replaced the Treaty of Sevres, which stipulated the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The Lausanne Treaty defined the boundaries of the modern state of Turkey and included provisions under which Ankara lost control over vast territories, which are now parts of Syria, Greece, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

In September, Erdogan criticized the Lausanne Treaty saying it was forced on Turkey by its opponents. He added that Turkey ceded islands with Turkish sanctuaries and mosques to Greece under the treaty.

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