EU enlargement chief warns Turkey to respect rule of law

AFP , Friday 29 Jul 2016

EU commissioner Johannes Hahn
File Photo: EU enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn (Photo: Reuters)

The EU enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, implicitly warned Turkey Friday that the bloc would freeze the country's accession talks if its post-coup crackdown violates the rule of law.

"While I am of the opinion that since the coup attempt the measures taken have been disproportionate, I need (to see) black-and-white facts about how these people are treated," Hahn told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"And if there is even the slightest doubt that the (treatment) is improper, then the consequences will be inevitable."

Since the failed coup on July 15, Turkey has detained nearly 16,000 people from the military, police, the justice system, education establishment and the media, in a crackdown sharply criticised in Europe and the United States.

Hahn added that for now "we are in the area of concerns, of presumptions".

Human rights group Amnesty International said Sunday it had "credible evidence" of the abuse and torture of people detained in sweeping arrests following Turkey's failed putsch.

Hahn, asked whether further discussions of Turkey's long-standing membership bid are still relevant today, replied: "It's a legitimate question that I ask myself often, if not daily."

But Hahn welcomed the EU-Turkey deal struck in March that "stopped the wave of refugees" en route to western Europe.

"Today what needs to be done is to help Turkey bear the financial burden of hosting three million refugees" on its soil, he said.


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