Brussels is particularly concerned about Turkey’s continued erosion of democracy and the rule of law. The report stated that Ankara ignored the recommendations made by the commission a year ago.
The European Commission said the EU’s “grave concerns about the deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and judicial independence have not been addressed.” “There was further decline in many areas.”
For the first time in all these years, Brussels also states that Ankara no longer seriously intends to implement EU-backed reforms, even though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in April that his country remained committed to full EU-led reform membership. After some serious clashes last year with several European countries, notably France and Greece, it seems that Turkey has been striving to improve relations since the beginning of this year.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the report shows “double standards” by the European Union. The ministry rejects “unreasonable criticism and baseless allegations” in the progress report. The union did not keep its promises.
“Turkey sticks to its choice of full membership in the European Union in the strongest possible way,” the ministry said. “It would be in everyone’s interest for the EU to see Turkey as a negotiating candidate, and not as a partner with whom we have to do business on a daily basis, given our common interests.”
When Turkey and Brussels began the accession process in 2005, the Turkish government under then Prime Minister Erdogan was busy reforming economic legislation and regulations in a European way. Turkey has also made significant progress in the field of human rights.
In subsequent years, Turkey’s quest for reform faltered and Erdogan increasingly emerged as an authoritarian leader. After the failed coup in 2016, Europe and Ankara veered further and further. In Brussels’ eyes, the Turkish government overreacted to the coup attempt.
In addition, various disputes between Ankara and Europe remain unresolved. For example, EU foreign ministers decided on Monday to prepare new sanctions against Turkey in response to Turkey’s intervention in Cyprus.
In late September, the Turkish Navy sent a Greek Cypriot research vessel from a part of the Mediterranean that Turkey considers its continental shelf. Also in July, at Ankara’s instigation, the once-popular Varosha resort in Turkish Northern Cyprus was reopened to the public. After the Turkish invasion of the island, the place to which the Greek Cypriots fled was closed by order of the United Nations.
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