Turkish MEP meeting closed to press

A question and answer session between members of the European parliament and Turkey’s European affairs minister Egemen Bagis was closed to the press on Monday afternoon because a Dutch anti-immigration MEP was one of the delegates, the NRC reports.

The paper says European and Turkish officials did not want comments by PVV MEP Barry Madlener to dominate reports of the meeting in the media.
The MEPs were in Ankara for a two-day meeting at the Turkish parliament to debate Turkey’s membership of the European Union. After a speech by Bagis the several dozen journalists present were told that the second part of the meeting would take place behind closed doors, the paper says.
The decision was taken by the meeting’s two chairmen, Lüfti Elvan from the Turkish parliament and the EU’s Hélène Flautre.
‘The meeting is not meant for voters. We do not want a show but a proper discussion,’ Flautre was quoted as saying.
Madlener said afterwards it was a ‘scandal that criticism from the peoples’ representatives could not be heard’.
During the meeting, he accused Turkey of the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus and said his party was opposed to Turkish membership because ‘Islam is not compatible with European values’, the NRC said.

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