The S&D Group argues that the European Union must stick to its commitments on the accession process, keeping the door to Europe open. For the immediate future, the EU and Turkey should concentrate on strengthening their relationship to deal with the challenges they both face, especially in our shared neighbourhood. Both sides can benefit from a close co-operation between the EU and Turkey.
Speaking in Istanbul today, Hannes Swoboda, President of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, said:
"We need to keep Turkey on board and reinforce our alliance with this important country in a very difficult and fragile region.
"We need to intensify the dialogue between the European Union and Turkey. It is now time to relaunch the negotiation process which aims to strengthen the stability and democracy of both the country and the region. New negotiations on the judicial system and civil rights (chapters 23 and 24 of the accession process) would help Turkey to strengthen the rule of law.
"A new constitution is essential in order to ensure freedom of expression for all and to achieve European standards and values. As a candidate country for accession, Turkey must fully respect the fundamental principles of secularism and democracy; otherwise it will risk compromising its chances of membership. Therefore all political groups in Turkey – and especially those on the left – must lead the fight for a secular democratic state. Neither the army nor religion should play any role in political life."
The article from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament