EU’s Annual Report on Turkey: Ankara Backslides on Membership

Written by | Friday, November 11th, 2016

The European Union released a report on Wednesday (9 November) criticizing Turkey for its crackdown on the opposition leaders and government’s opponents following the failed July coup. The EU said that the prospects of Turkey becoming an EU member have become even more distant. The Wednesday report, which is essentially an annual summary of Turkey’s progress towards the membership, slams the country very hard over the independence of judiciary, rule of law, fundamental democratic principles and freedom of expression.

“The coup attempt of 15 July was an attack on democracy per se. Given the seriousness of the situation, a swift reaction to the threat was legitimate,“ the EU’s top enlargement official, Johaness Hahn, said. “However, the large scale and collective nature of measures taken over the last months raise very serious concerns,“ he added and continued by stressing that “Turkey as a candidate country must fulfill the highest standards in the field of the rule of law and fundamental rights. In this year’s report we therefore stress Turkey’s backsliding in the area of rule of law and fundamental rights.“

Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs, Omer Celik, commented that the report was not constructive, suggesting that parts of it lacked objectivity. “The report does not serve to benefit EU-Turkey ties“, he said and urged both sides to build stronger bridges. Turkey has for long been losing patience when it comes to its EU membership application. Its current status is somewhere in a limbo between those EU states that support the country’s accession and those that have serious concerns mostly over how to integrate an almost 80-million Muslim society within the EU. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan therefore urged Brussels to make a final say on the application. “Reassess it, but do not delay in reassessing it. Make your final decision“.

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