Greece's conservative main opposition party said on Wednesday it voted against a European Parliament resolution to freeze Turkey's EU accession talks due to the country's backtracking, saying negotiations are a leverage to push Ankara to implement reforms.
New Democracy said it fully agrees with the European Parliament's criticism directed at Turkey, but added that it is in Greece's interest to maintain a "powerful leverage" for Ankara through the accession negotiations.
“An a la carte relationship between the EU and Turkey may be beneficial to European countries that have mainly economic interests in Turkey, and may even benefit Turkey because the flow of money from the EU continues, but it takes away from Greece a powerful weapon: the control of the accession process,” New Democracy MEP Maria Spyraki said.
“If eventually it is decided that we have to move to another kind of EU-Turkey relationship, this should be governed by terms and conditions equivalent to those of the accession negotiations,” she added.
EU lawmakers voted 370 in favour and 109 against, with 143 abstentions, for an official freeze of the membership process, citing the collapse of the rule of law, a turn towards authoritarianism and the crackdown on dissidents.