Mr. Speaker, Canada has a long-standing relationship with Turkey, but as happens sometimes with relationships, we are now not as compatible as we used to be.
Turkey's government systematically violates the rights of its own people, ignores basic democratic norms, and has undermined international peace and security.
Irregularities plagued the last Turkish election and the recent referendum, a referendum that effectively put all power into one person's hands. Minorities have long-standing grievances, and their situation is getting worse. Turkey's decision to target Kurdish fighters who are themselves engaged against Daesh has negatively impacted our security. As well, is Russia really just a friend? I am beginning to wonder.
This is a clear low point in our relationship, but I still believe Turkey can change. It is time for Turkey to released imprisoned opposition politicians, restore genuine democracy, address electoral irregularities, recognize the full rights of minority communities, open the Turkish-Armenian border, recognize past acts of genocide, and restart the peace process.
Turkey, it is not me: it is you. If Turkey does not change, then western policy toward it will have to. Otherwise it will simply become somebody that we used to know.