Report: Turkey doing worse than before in efforts to join EU, says commission

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Turkey is doing worse than before in its efforts to join the EU, according to the European Commission’s accession progress report due to be released on Tuesday, Politico reported, citing German newspaper Die Welt.

“Turkey has taken 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 significantly backslid “in the areas of justice, public administrative reform, fundamental rights and freedom of expression.”

The 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 declared a state of emergency in 2016 after foiling a military coup aimed at toppling him.

Brussels wants Turkey to put “an end to the state of emergency, without any delay.” The government resorting to “excessive measures” since the failed coup, including mass dismissals and arrests, continues 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 4 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 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.

The package each year gives an overview of the state of play of the political and economic developments in Turkey and six Western Balkan countries that want to join the EU: Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and potential candidates Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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.

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