Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a warning stating that Turkey could consider abandoning its long-standing EU membership process, following a recent report from the European Parliament criticizing Turkey’s decline in terms of human rights. Erdogan accused the EU of trying to break away from Turkey and stated that Turkey will evaluate these developments, and if necessary, could part ways with the EU.
The European Parliament adopted a report earlier this week that censured Turkey for its measures that curtail fundamental freedoms, human rights, civil liberties, and actions that go against international law and good neighborly relations. The report highlighted Turkey’s alleged persecution of the LGBTQ community, territorial disputes with Greece, and its refusal to sanction or condemn Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine as examples of the growing gap between Turkey and the EU when it comes to values and standards.
The report recommended putting Turkey’s accession to the bloc on hold until these issues and others are resolved. Instead, the report suggested offering Turkey a modernized association agreement in place of a pathway to membership. In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the report, stating that it contained unfounded allegations and took a shallow and non-visionary approach to Turkey’s relations with the EU.
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and became a candidate in 1999. However, progress in membership negotiations has been slow, and no talks have taken place since 2016. EU officials have criticized Erdogan for alleged human rights abuses, and the European Parliament has issued multiple reports warning that Erdogan’s actions risk derailing Turkey’s membership bid. In the face of a 2017 report highlighting constitutional reforms strengthening Erdogan’s powers that could potentially violate EU law, Erdogan dismissed the warning, stating that Turkey does not recognize the reports and will not recognize them in the future.
In recent months, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano have all made statements suggesting that Turkey is unlikely to be accepted into the EU in the near future. Additionally, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented that Turkey should accept that full membership is unlikely to be offered. Peskov stated that Europeans, in particular, do not want to see Turkey in Europe.
The tensions between Turkey and the EU have continued to escalate, with Turkey considering the possibility of abandoning its EU membership process. The future of Turkey’s relationship with the EU remains uncertain, as both sides evaluate their positions and determine their next steps.