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Europe’s guardian under fire – POLITICO

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In edits, seen by POLITICO, of a draft report on Turkey, the cabinet crossed out a line noting that “hate speech and smear campaigns by government officials and media against the LGBTI community have multiplied.”

This mirrors a similar move in a broader draft summary on enlargement in 2020, in which a cabinet member said a line noting that “more needs to be done to tackle discrimination, hate speech and violence” against LGBTQ+ people must “be removed” because “it’s already covered in progress reports, no need to name it here.”

When asked if his cabinet was seeking to remove mentions of LGBTQ+ rights from Commission documents, Várhelyi replied that “last year’s enlargement package contained 58 references to the need to protect LGBTI people “.

“The overall communication highlights that gender-based violence, discrimination, hate speech against minorities, hate crimes and violations of the human rights of LGBTI people remain a matter of serious concern,” the commissioner said.

The cabinet also sought to allay concerns over a 2020 law that gave the Turkish government new powers over social media content, according to the draft Turkey report. And it removed references to “a large number of investigations, detentions and arrests of activists and human rights defenders.”

Meanwhile, Várhelyi himself pushed Commission President von der Leyen to restore relations with Ankara – despite tensions between Turkey and several EU members – and cited migration as one of the reasons of this decision.

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