Turkey is going to receive a scorecard from the European Commission tomorrow (17 April) in what will be the EU’s most critical report on Turkey since Ankara started its efforts to join the bloc more than 10 years ago. Brussels warned that the years of progress might have been lost due to the country’s recent deterioration in democratic principles and human rights. Turkey is drifting away from the European Union on judicial freedoms, media, human rights, good governance, and the rule of law. The only exception is cooperation on Syrian refugees where both sides managed to find common ground.
The Tuesday report is the Commission’s annual summary on how far Turkey and other candidate countries have progressed in bringing EU standards and values into their political systems. According to the leaks published by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the Commission concluded that there was no point in opening further negotiations on new aspects of EU membership, meaning process remains to be stalled. “There is massive backsliding away from the European Union,” one EU official commented.
The report is also meant to continue in the harsh tone towards Ankara, criticizing its huge reverses on fundamental freedoms including fair trial and free speech. Turkey started its talks to join the bloc in 2005, 18 years after applying. While Turkey has always had it hard notably due to the Cyprus issue and resistance to its membership by France and Germany, the recent purges of police, teachers, judges, and other officials since the attempt at coup d’état in 2016 made Turkey’s membership prospects dramatically worse. However, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that his country still remained committed to the EU membership.