West News Wire: In reaction to a report from Brussels criticising his nation’s “downward spiral in terms of human rights,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Ankara may give up on its protracted EU membership process.
Erdogan told reporters on Saturday that “the EU is trying to break away from Turkey,” and that “we will make our evaluations against these developments and, if necessary, we can part ways with the EU.”
A report denouncing Turkey for activities restricting “fundamental freedoms, human rights, and civil liberties, as well as by its actions going against international law and good neighbourly relations” was adopted by the European Parliament earlier this week.
The report cited Turkey’s alleged persecution of the LGBTQ community, its territorial disputes with Greece, and its refusal to sanction or condemn Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine as examples of “the growing gap between Türkiye and the EU on values and standards.”
It concluded by recommending that Turkey’s membership in the bloc be delayed until these and other difficulties are overcome. The report recommends that Ankara be given “a modernized association agreement” rather than a membership pathway up until that moment.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the report made baseless claims and approached Turkey’s relations with the EU in “a shallow and non-visionary” manner.
Turkey first attempted to join the EU in 1987, and its candidature was recognised in 1999. Membership negotiations began in 2005, but because of poor progress, there have been no discussions since 2016. Since then, Erdogan has drawn criticism from EU authorities for allegedly violating human rights, and the European Parliament has released many reports cautioning that Erdogan could jeopardise Ankara’s membership.
After a 2017 report stated that constitutional reforms strengthening his powers could run afoul of EU law, Erdogan dismissed the warning. “You can write as many reports as you want,” he said at the time. “We do not recognize your reports. We will not recognize them in the future, either.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and European Commission spokesman Peter Stano have all recently stated that it is doubtful that Turkey will join the EU very soon.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian government, urged Turkey to acknowledge that full membership is unlikely to ever be provided. No one wants to see Turkey in Europe, to put it bluntly. I’m talking about people from Europe,” Peskov said.