The European Commission official website has published its annual report on Turkey, triggering anger among Turkish officials. The report said, “Turkey notified the Council of Europe of a derogation from its obligation to secure a number of fundamental rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Given the subsequent scale and collective nature of measures taken since the coup attempt, the EU called on the authorities to observe the highest standards in respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights, in line with Turkey’s international commitments and status as a candidate country.”
According to Euro News, the EU has called on Turkey to restart political dialogue with opposition groups and protect its democracy, and described recent developments as ‘extremely worrying’. This came a day before an annual EU assessment on Turkey’s progress on EU membership and visa-free travel. Also, the EU Foreign Policy chief voiced concerns over Turkey’s plans to reinstate the death penalty, newspaper closures and the arrest of opposition politicians.
Turkey responding to the EU report
Turkey’s European Union Affairs Minister, Ömer Çelik, dismissed the latest report of the EU on its long-running membership bid as “far from constructive” and lacking objectivity in parts, after the bloc voiced concern about its crackdown on opponents after a failed July coup, according to Yeni Şafak.
During a news conference Çelik said that the report had been written in a way that did not serve EU-Turkish interests and accused the bloc of lacking the vision of its founders.
“The EU report, which was recently released, contains criticism which does not reflect the truth,” said the Turkish minister, adding that Turkey appreciates that the EU condemned the coup bid of July 15. “FETÖ is a terrorist organization even more dangerous than Nazis,” he added
Turkey’s EU accession negotiations threatened
In the same context, an EU top official in charge of ties with Turkey told Reuters in an interview that Ankara must reverse its action against the coup plotters, who attempted to destroy the Turkish state and its democracy, or risk an end to accession talks.
However, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın responded to the EU official’s comment, saying that the European Union would have to accept consequences if the bloc decides to pause Turkey’s accession negotiation. “It will be a big mistake if the EU thinks it can subdue Turkey with such a decision,” Kalın said, in a live interview with Turkish private broadcaster Ahaber.
“If they resort to such ways, they will have to live with the results,” Kalın said, adding, “If the EU is making threats to freeze Turkey’s accession negotiations, these threats don’t have any basis here.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also reacted against the EU official’s comments, urging that EU should make its final decision on Turkey’s accession quickly.