Today is the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. As an expression of strong ownership of fundamental universal values such as the rule of law, human rights and freedoms, freedom of the press, thought and speech, May 9 is celebrated across all the European countries as “Europe Day”. The Republican People’s Party marks Europe Day as a symbol of the values that we are committed to and firmly and resolutely uphold. RPP undertakes once again to continue working with all of the European countries to preserve these ideals while not letting them undermined.
The COVID-19 outbreak has proven to be a test in crisis management not only for the national and federal states but also for the European Union as a leading global actor and all of the international bodies and organisations. This test has added to the worries that far-right, nationalist and populist movements within the EU, which have recently been growing stronger, could be further bolstered in a way that could thwart the integration, solidarity, and enlargement of the Union. It has given rise to such risks as authoritarian governments and leaders becoming more oppressive, States becoming more protectionist and turning to isolationist behaviour.
The current pandemic crisis could hinder mending of Turkey-EU relations which have recently reached a breaking point. Pandemic crisis, which emerged around the time when the current government in Turkey halted controls on border crossings to allow asylum-seekers to enter into the EU countries, requires both parties to rethink the future of their relations.
In recent years, Turkey has reduced its goal of full EU membership to one of the limited partnership to renew the customs union and to realise visa liberalisation, all under a government completely drifting away from EU values. Still, warnings of the Venice Commission and the Copenhagen Political Criteria remain ignored, with the autocratic one-man rule pulling Turkey farther away from democratic values. The current government does not attempt at all to consider these negative consequences.
Having initiated Turkey’s EU accession process and having supported all action to harmonise the European Union acquis and other legislation to date, the Republican People’s Party believes that international solidarity and integration have never been more critical to build a fair world for the future. Let us reiterate that we consider full membership to the EU to be beyond a limited partnership and that it is crucial to foster strong solidarity across Europe.
We wish a happy May 9, Europe Day to all of our citizens and Europeans alike.