One of the texts of the European Parliament Report on Turkey adopted yesterday (14 April) calls for making Turkish an official language of the EU, a move condemned by a minority of MEPs who voted against the report.
The report was passed by 375 votes to 133, with 87 abstentions. Turkey already slammed it for references to the Armenian genocide, but other texts, such as making Turkish an official language of the EU, are obviously designed to please Ankara.
MEPs praise Turkey for hosting the largest refugee population in the world, and note that it remains a “key strategic partner for the EU” but nonetheless call for progress on rule of law and fundamental values and “a structured and more frequent political dialogue on key thematic issues”. They also as for uncoupling the EU-Turkey cooperation on migration from the country’s EU accession process.
Regarding the Turkish language, a text on the last page of the 14-page long Report welcomes the initiative of the President of the Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades to make Turkish an official language of the EU.
Indeed, Anastasiades recently asked the Dutch EU Presidency to add Turkish to the bloc’s 24 official languages, in order to boost attempts to reach a reunification agreement on the Mediterranean island.
MEPs pledge support for the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality between the two communities and equal opportunities for all its citizens”. They urge the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties to accelerate the reunification process and urge that the implementation of the EU acquis in the future Turkish Cypriot constituent state be well prepared.
Angel Dzhambazki, a Bulgarian MEP from the nationalist party VMRO (ECR-affiliated), said that the adopted text was a “direct threat” for the national security of his country. He voted against the resolution.
Bulgaria has a sizeable Turkish minority and the current Turkish government is reportedly pursuing a policy of bringing closer this minority to Ankara, including by engineering a new political force in Bulgaria supportive of Turkey, named DOST (“Friend” in Turkish).
Among the 17 Bulgarian MEPs, 3 are of Turkish ethnicity: Nedzhmi Ali, Filiz Hyusmenova an Ilhan Kyuchyuk. All three are affiliated to the Movement of Rights and Freedoms (DPS), a mainly ethnic Turkish party, affiliated to the liberal ALDE group.
According to Vote Watch EU, Dzhambazki is the only Bulgarian MEP who voted against the Report on Turkey. Only the DPS MEPs voted in favour, the rest of the Bulgarian MEPs abstaining.
“In the longer term [this text] is a threat also for the other EU members”, Dzhambazki said, adding “if they want to commit suicide, it’s their business”.
He added that he was “sure” that when this text would reach the Council, where the member states sit, Bulgaria would veto it.