Turkey is doing worse than before in its efforts to join the EU, according to the European Commission’s forthcoming accession progress report, German paper Die Welt reported.
“Turkey has made big steps away from the EU,” the Commission concludes in a draft report on Turkey’s efforts, according to the paper. The assessment finds that Turkey has taken significant steps backward “in the areas of justice, public administrative reform, fundamental rights and freedom of expression.”
The sobering findings mean that “under the current circumstances, it’s unthinkable to open up new [accession] chapters,” according to the draft. Instead, it says that Turkey must reverse the current negative trend in the areas of rule of law and citizens’ fundamental rights.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan first declared a state of emergency in 2016 after clamping down an army coup, aimed at toppling his leadership.
Brussels wants Turkey to put “an end to the state of emergency, without any delay.” The government’s resort to “excessive measures” since the coup, including mass dismissals and arrests, continue to cause “serious worries,” according to excerpts from the report.
Turkey’s economic performance, however, got a thumbs up as being a “much advanced” and “functioning market economy,” according to die Welt.
Turkey also made “outstanding efforts” to provide for the four million refugees in the country. Turkey’s cooperation with the EU on managing the ongoing refugee crisis, meanwhile, “continues to bring concrete and significant results concerning the decrease of illegal and dangerous crossings and rescue of lives” in the Mediterranean.
A European Commission spokesperson said that the progress report on Turkey is due to be presented as part of a broader enlargement package on Tuesday in Strasbourg, where the European Parliament will hold its monthly plenary session next week.
The country reports found that all candidate countries need to do more to adopt the EU’s fundamental values, and root out organized crime and corruption, die Welt reported.
“The countries have to scrupulously fight corruption, and eliminate any form of state capture. Corruption remains wide-spread, despite continued efforts to bring legal and institutional framework conditions in line with European standards,” the Commission paper says.