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Summary

  1. Members of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee debated the attempted coup in Turkey over the weekend.
  2. They took evidence from EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and representatives the EEAS, the EU's diplomatic service.
  3. EU foreign affairs ministers have condemned the coup attempt but urged the Turkish government to show "restraint" to avoid further violence.
  4. Mr Hahn yesterday accused Turkey of having pre-prepared lists of people to arrest before the coup attempt.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Sitting ends

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

And with that, German MEP and committee chair Elmar Brok bring the session to a close, with a prediction that there may be events for committee members to "keep an eye on" during their summer recess. 

Commissioner: EU 'not dependent' on Turkey

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn says that Europe and Turkey cannot escape geography and "have to deal with one another as neighbours".

He says the EU is "working very closely" with Turkey through the non-EU body the Council of Europe. 

"Turkey needs Europe as much as we have an interest in having good relations with Turkey," he adds, telling MEPs that Europe is not dependent on the country and their relationship must be "give and take". 

Johannes Hahn
BBC

MEPs call for EU to stop Turkey membership talks

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Hilde Vautmans
BBC

Belgian Liberal Hilde Vautmans says the EU needs to "examine what has happened recently" in the country and now call off accession talks. 

French Front National MEP Edouard Ferrand also calls for the EU to stop talks with Turkey, claiming that 70% of people in France are opposed to the country gaining membership. 

He says that the country would act as a "Trojan horse" for Islamists - and calls for European countries to walk away from the "blackmail that Erdogan is exercising over Europe". 

German MEP: Death penalty reintroduction can still be stopped

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

German social democrat Jo Leinen says that it is "more than enough" that President Erdogan has raised the prospect of reintroducing the death penalty - but that he thinks there are still "enough democratic elements" in the country to stop it from happening. 

He says the Erdogan regime is "cleansing" the judiciary and increasing its power over the media. 

He adds that the EU should "extend a hand" to support those opposing "dictatorial elements" in the country.  

Jo Leinen
BBC

Turkey's military coups

  • 1997 - also known as "post-modern coup". Turkish military intervention leads to resignation of Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan.
  • 1980 - Military coup following armed conflict between right-wing and left-wing groups in the 1970s.
  • 1971 - Military coup known as the "coup by memorandum", which the military delivered instead of sending out tanks.
  • 1960 - Coup by group of young military officer outside chain of command, against the democratically-elected Democrat Party.

Green MEP: EU should not 'stand aside' in Turkey

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Jan Albrecht
BBC

German Green Jan Albrecht says he also agrees that the reintroduction of the death penalty should make the country ineligible for accession to the EU. 

He says what happens in Turkey is of great importance to the EU because of its strategic role and place in the Nato alliance - and that the bloc should not "stand aside" but be doing more to support those fighting to uphold the rule of law in the country. 

Italian MEP Mario Borghezio says that before the coup, many people "hadn't realised" the level of threat to Turkish democracy. 

Turkey coup: Who was behind Turkey coup attempt?

By Ezgi Basaran, Turkish journalist and academic visitor at St Antony's College, Oxford University

Since its founding, the Turkish Republic has endured its share of military intervention in politics, and seen four coups - two of them forced a change of government without taking over.

They have all had grave consequences, and shattered many lives. But nothing compares to what we witnessed on the night of 15 July 2016.

Were we expecting such a coup attempt? No. Even though there was talk of the mid-ranks of the military being unhappy with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's illiberal policies, a coup was highly unlikely, many reckoned.

Read more

Turkish troops on Bosphorus Bridge
Getty Images

MEP urges 'active' EU stance with Turkey

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Slovenian Liberal Ivo Vajgl says that the Turkish President is right to say that the country is threatened by a "parallel state" based around exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

However he adds that "cannot justify what is going on now" - accusing the government of "mass violations" of human rights and the rule of law.   

Mr Gulen, currently based in the United States, has denied involvement in events over the weekend. 

He says that the EU risks marginalisation unless it pursues a "very active" policy with both Turkey and Russia. 

Ivo Vajgl
BBC

EU membership and the death penalty

Turkish policemen accompany detainees
EPA
Turkish policemen accompanied detained alleged coup plotters at a court in Ankara yesterday

Mr Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey would consider reinstating the death penalty – but the suggestion that has been met with strong opposition from EU leaders.

Capital punishment was abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey's bid to join the bloc. Nobody has been executed in the country since 1984.

The EU's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said yesterday that "no country can become an EU member if it introduces the death penalty”.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel was similarly clear that such a move would spell an end to Turkey's longstanding application for EU membership. 

Dutch MEP raises 'witch hunt' concerns

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Dutch social democrat Kati Piri says that those involved in the attempted coup must be brought to justice, but that the Turkish government's conduct has "raised the fear that it is pursuing a witch hunt". 

She backs up Commissioner Hahn's assertion about lists, saying that targets had "clearly been prepared" before the attempted coup took place. 

She asks how the EU will monitor the criminal cases that have been brought so far - and asks whether it would be possible for Turkish officials to appear before the committee after the summer recess to "personally hear our concerns". 

Kati Piri
BBC

EU should not 'close doors' to Turkey - MEP

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Othmar Karas
BBC

Austrian centre-right MEP Othmar Karas says he agrees that any introduction of the death penalty would not just hinder but "break off" Turkey's bid for EU membership. 

However, he adds that, "if possible", the EU should continue accession talks with the country and not "close any doors". 

He adds that the EU is capable of putting pressure on Turkey to "strengthen" its commitment to upholding human rights. 

Turkey’s stalled EU membership bid

Turkey applied for full membership of the EU in 1987, although it wasn’t until 1999 that the country became an official membership candidate and not until late 2005 that it started accession talks.

Its long road to potential membership has been beset with political difficulties, not least its relationship with EU member Cyprus.

Tensions remain over the breakaway ethnic Turkish administration in northern Cyprus, which is only recognised by Ankara. 

So far only 15 of Turkey's 35 negotiating chapters have been opened (ie started), and only one has been provisionally closed (completed).

However the EU recently agreed to open talks on Chapter 33, covering how the country would make contributions to the EU budget. 

But the EU has said negotiation on eight chapters will not be started until Turkey removes obstacles to the free movement of goods, including direct transport links, with Cyprus.

Negotiations have also been overshadowed by concerns about freedom of speech and democracy in Turkey, treatment of religious minorities, and women's and children's rights. 

Man standing behind Turkish flag
EPA

Hahn: Death penalty incompatible with EU membership

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn tells MEPs that ongoing developments in Turkey have given the EU "cause for concern". 

He says he was "surprised" at the reaction to his comments about the Turkish government having pre-prepared lists of opponents - adding that being able to arrest such a large number of people so quickly is "not something that most administrations are able to do".

He also says that at the moment, around 20% of judges are suspended or have been replaced, which will have a "direct impact" on judicial rulings.

He adds that it is "quite clear" that any re-introduction of the death penalty in the wake of the coup attempt would make the country ineligible for EU membership. 

"I don't think that's anything we would need to debate," he adds. 

Johannes Hahn
BBC

Good morning

Foreign Affairs Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Hello and welcome to coverage of this emergency sitting of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels.

This morning MEPs will be questioning the EU commissioner for enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, about the attempted military coup in Turkey over the weekend.

Some 6,000 members of the judiciary and military, including generals, have been detained following events over the weekend.

There are conflicting reports about whether a former Turkish air force commander has confessed to planning the attempted coup.