05:27 GMT +322 August 2019
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    Turkish security members surround migrants after their arrival in Pehlivankoy, Kirklareli, Turkey. file photo

    NGO Head Tells Sputnik Turkey Won't Enter EU With Human Rights Problems

    © AP Photo / Ergin Yildiz
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    Turkey's EU integration is only possible if Ankara resolves issues related to its crackdown on the Kurds, the accommodation of Syrian refugees and human rights abuses, Ozturk Turkdogan, the President of the Turkish Human Rights Association told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, President of the Turkish Human Rights Association Ozturk Turkdogan said that Turkey's EU accession will remain impossible until Ankara stops oppressing the Kurds, reforms its approach to Syrian refugees and guarantees basic human rights.

    The interview came after Brussels and Ankara agreed in March on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the EU through its territory in exchange for asylum seekers from Syria, on a one-for-one basis.

    In return, the EU pledged to provide a total of 3 billion euros (over 3.3 billion dollars) to Turkey to help it provide for the refugees there, with a further 3 billion-euro provision possible, as well promising to accelerate Ankara's EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and Europe.

    A Syrian refugee holds onto his children as he struggles to walk off a dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Lesbos. file photo
    © REUTERS / Yannis Behrakis
    A Syrian refugee holds onto his children as he struggles to walk off a dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Lesbos. file photo

    "Obviously, until problems concerning the oppression of Kurds and the situation on Syrian refugees are resolved, Turkey will not be able to move forward on the path of European integration," Turkdogan said.

    He also slammed the Turkey-EU deal as "an absolutely politicized document which runs counter to human rights."

    Additionally, Turkogan mentioned "the Kurdish problem" and another one related to "authoritarianism in Turkey," something that he said prevents Ankara from making progress in talks on its access to the EU.

    "After the June 7, 2015 parliamentary elections in Turkey, we actually witnessed the [instigation of a] presidential regime there, with serious restrictions related to freedom of speech and press. Journalists, academics, rights activists and writers [have] come under strong pressure amid systematic violations of other human rights and freedoms, which is a serious obstacle to joining the EU," he pointed out. 

    Earlier this week, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU will not "water down" commitments that Turkey must make in order to gain visa-free access for its citizens into the EU by June 2016, in an increasingly acrimonious exchange.

    Juncker made the comment after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that he will tear up the controversial EU-Turkish migrant deal unless his citizens are given visa-free access to the EU in June, in a move which is expected to put further pressure on EU leaders.


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    European Union, oppression, accession, integration, human rights, refugees, Turkey
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