EU says Turkey's membership bid at 'standstill'

Turkey failing to meet conditions for membership: EU report
2 min read
20 October, 2021
A report by the EU's executive body has accused Turkey's government of ignoring the bloc's recommendations and overseeing an 'erosion of democratic values'.
Turkey has been seeking EU membership since 2005 [Getty]

The European Union has accused Turkey of serious democratic shortfalls and described its to bid join the bloc as being at a “standstill”.

The assessment came in an annual report by the EU’s executive body, which said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government were overseeing an erosion of democratic values and the rule of law, and further accused them of ignoring the recommendations made by the body in its previous report. 

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed the accusations as “baseless claims”.

Despite a recommitment by the Turkish president in April to secure full membership of the EU, the report claimed that Turkey was no longer serious about implementing the required reforms. 

“The EU’s serious concerns on the continued deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary have not been addressed. There was further backsliding in many areas,” the report said.

“Under the current circumstances, Turkey’s accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill,” it continued. 

Turkey was quick to hit back at the claims, accusing the EU of a “double-standard approach” and rejecting their “unfair criticisms and baseless claims”.

“Turkey maintains in the strongest terms its strategic choice of full EU membership,” a foreign ministry statement said. 

“It would be in everyone’s interest if the EU, taking into account our common general interests, sees Turkey as a candidate country that is negotiating, not as a partner with whom to have daily give-take relations,” the statement continued. 

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Turkey has been seeking EU membership since 2005, but has continually failed to meet the conditions for joining the bloc. 

In its report, the EU was highly critical of the purge of opponents that has continued since the 2016 coup attempt, highlighting the “broad-scale restrictions imposed on the activities of journalists, writers, lawyers, academics, human rights defenders and critical voices.”

The EU has also found itself at odds with Turkey’s foreign policies, including military action in Syria and Iraq.