Council of Europe Body to Vote on Turkey Status April 25

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is scheduled to meet on April 25 to discuss whether to degrade Turkey’s status and reopen a monitoring process against the country, in what has been decried as a politically motivated move by Ankara.

The co-rapporteurs of the monitoring committee have recommended that the assembly “re-open the monitoring procedure in respect to Turkey until its concerns are addressed in a satisfactory manner.”

The initiative to degrade Turkey’s status is “openly a political operation” against Turkey, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said April 24.

In spite of Turkey’s efforts at cooperation, the Turkish government sees that there are some political initiatives against the country “in some purposeful circles,” Kalın told a press conference.

“In today’s and tomorrow’s discussions, we see that the issue of subjecting Turkey to monitoring status has been brought to the agenda by certain circles in the PACE General Assembly. This is clearly a political operation,” he said.

“This has no legitimate or justifiable basis when you look at the past of Turkey’s relations with the Council of Europe, and with objective facts in Turkey,” he said, adding that Turkey viewed the European body as important.

On April 24, the PACE monitoring commission was expected to vote on a draft report titled “The functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey” after the Hürriyet Daily News went to press.

Several amendments to the content of the report have been proposed ahead of the April 25 vote by members of the assembly, while Turkey also submitted a number of amendment proposals ahead of the vote.

If PACE subjects Turkey to monitoring, the move would have negative effects on Turkey-EU relations. In 2004, the EU said Ankara had to exit the monitoring process in order to meet the Copenhagen criteria. In the same year, the EU provided a date to begin accession negotiations after the monitoring status was lifted, ruling that Turkey had successfully met the Copenhagen criteria.

If PACE decides to begin monitoring Turkey once more, it would confirm that Ankara has not fulfilled the Copenhagen Criteria, which was the starting point for the accession negotiations.

The EU Council, which postponed the request to suspend negotiations with Turkey during a summit in December 2016, will review the request at the end of this month if PACE downgrades Turkey’s status.