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Brussels should make a decision on Turkey's EU membership

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The European Commission released a scathing report on Wednesday concerning Turkey's accession progress. The Turkish government's post-coup crackdown on civil rights, the judiciary and press freedom all made the prospect of EU-membership increasingly unlikely, the report said. In the escalating standoff, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later challenged European leaders to "go and make a final decision" on Turkey's membership. "They say, unabashedly and shamelessly, that the EU should review its negotiations with Turkey," Erdogan told an Istanbul business group. "You are late, go and review them as soon as you can. But don't just review them - go and make your final decision."

However, Erdogan also said the EU would never reach that "final point" and cut ties out of fear that it would jeopardize its migrant agreement with Turkey. Erdogan told business leaders: "You know those 3 million refugees in Turkey? They say there is a problem. What if the negotiations end and they open the gates, where would we put those 3 million refugees? That is their worry. That is why they cannot come to the end point."

The Turkish president's comments came after the EU's annual assessment of candidate countries accused Turkey of "backsliding." A number of emergency laws introduced since the failed July coup were incompatible with EU standards, the report said. In particular, EU officials expressed concerns with Turkey's anti-terror law, the arrests of Kurdish lawmakers, human rights offenses and calls for the death penalty to be reinstated.

Later, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said Turkey's increasingly authoritarian government is hampering its bid to join the 28-member bloc. Speaking to reporters, Hahn reinforced the Commission's stance that democratic values were not up for negotiation. "[Turkey] is certainly not heading in the European direction," Hahn said. "Turkey is an EU candidate, and that means they have to accept that we apply higher standards... If they don't want to accept it, they have to face the consequences."

However, Erdogan also said the EU would never reach that "final point" and cut ties out of fear that it would jeopardize its migrant agreement with Turkey.

Erdogan told business leaders: "You know those 3 million refugees in Turkey? They say there is a problem. What if the negotiations end and they open the gates, where would we put those 3 million refugees? That is their worry. That is why they cannot come to the end point."

The Turkish president's comments came after the EU's annual assessment of candidate countries accused Turkey of "backsliding." A number of emergency laws introduced since the failed July coup were incompatible with EU standards, the report said. In particular, EU officials expressed concerns with Turkey's anti-terror law, the arrests of Kurdish lawmakers, human rights offenses and calls for the death penalty to be reinstated.

Later, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said Turkey's increasingly authoritarian government is hampering its bid to join the 28-member bloc. Speaking to reporters, Hahn reinforced the Commission's stance that democratic values were not up for negotiation.

"[Turkey] is certainly not heading in the European direction," Hahn said. "Turkey is an EU candidate, and that means they have to accept that we apply higher standards... If they don't want to accept it, they have to face the consequences."

Date
2016.11.10 / 16:44
Author
Axar.Az
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