46 European Parliament members call on EU to initiate targeted sanctions against Erdoğan government

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Forty-six Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different political parties and groups in a letter on Monday to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called for “immediate action to stop Turkey’s attacks against peace and democracy.”

In their letter the MEPs said Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan had built an extremely authoritarian political system over the last five years with the help of his ultranationalist allies and in the process “over 90,000 people have been arrested with ‘terrorism’-related charges, including party leaders, members of parliament, elected Kurdish mayors, thousands of other HDP [pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party] party members, journalists, academics, lawyers, civil society representatives, human rights activists.”

The letter defines the new political system as the “Turkish-type presidential system” and claims that it “has totally undermined the principle of separation of powers and an independent judiciary.”

The Turkish government’s systematic efforts aimed at removing mayors elected from the HDP on terrorism-related charges are also harshly criticized by the MEPs. “They have also been unlawfully removing HDP co-mayors in Kurdish provinces, and replacing them with appointed ‘governor-trustees.’ Since the local elections held on 31 March 2019, the government has unlawfully seized 46 HDP-run municipalities out of 65.”

The government of President Erdoğan accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an accusation denied by the party.

The 46 MEPs also voiced serious concerns about Turkish Armed Forces airstrikes against targets in northern Iraq and northern Syria. “In both attacks, many civilians lost their lives or [were] seriously injured. … Turkish military action is destabilizing the region, exacerbating humanitarian suffering, and providing a fertile ground for the resurgence of terrorist groups, which will especially undermine progress made against ISIS.”

The letter ends with a plea to the European Commission to take action. “We would like to request that the Commission take immediate and concrete steps, as economic and targeted sanctions, to help end this unlawful repression and attacks, as well as attacks against international law,” it says.

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