European Socialists support Kılıçdaroğlu for fast-track EU visa liberalization

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Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi Genel Başkanı Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Saadet Partisi Genel Başkanı Temel Karamollaoğlu’nu CHP Genel Merkezi’ndeki makamında kabul etti. (Fotoğraf: Alp Eren Kaya)

The Party of European Socialists (PES), the second largest political family represented in the EU, has said in a statement that it supports the pledge of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint presidential candidate of Turkey’s opposition and leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to complete the reforms required for the country’s visa liberalization process with the EU.

At a meeting in Ankara on April 20 attended by senior opposition figures and ambassadors from European countries, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey would fulfill the remaining six of the 72 criteria the EU has proposed for visa-free travel if he is elected to the top state post in elections taking place this Sunday.

“It is in this spirit that we are pleased to count on the CHP and on Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership to continue progressing towards the achievement of the remaining – and very critical – criteria for the visa liberalisation,” PES Executive Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck said. “For us European social democrats and progressives, Türkiye is a crucial partner. We support all steps that can bring the country closer to the fundamental values that we share.”

According to the PES. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his authoritarian style pushed Turkey away from European values and completely stalled the accession process.

“Our main goal is membership in the European Union. Of course we want to be part of the civilized world,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that if he is elected, he will do his best to move forward with Turkey’s stalled accession process.

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on Sunday.

President Erdoğan, who is seeking re-election, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Homeland Party leader Muharrem İnce and Sinan Oğan, the candidate of a bloc of four far-right parties, were qualified to run in the presidential election.

In a move that is likely to change the outcome of the election, İnce on Thursday announced his withdrawal from the race. 

A presidential candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote to be elected in the first round of the race. If none of the candidates manages to exceed 50 percent, a second round will be held two weeks later, following which the candidate who gets the most votes will be elected to the top state post.

Many observers representing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations will monitor the elections in Turkey.

Source: Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) 

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