Turkey looks east as EU mulls suspending its membership bid

Written by on November 24, 2016 in Europe - Comments Off on Turkey looks east as EU mulls suspending its membership bid
As expected, July elections in Turkey moved Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the prime minister's office to a new role as president. His place as the strongman of Ankara was increasingly unchallenged, in spite of the tragedy of the deaths of hundreds of miners in Soma, to say nothing of the continuing crackdowns on protesters, his clampdowns on traditional and social media, lavish spending on a new presidential palace, his sharpness towards the EU and Erdogan's plain statement that he had no intention of holding to presidential neutrality.

Turkey’s decades-long bid to join the European Union hangs increasingly in the balance as criticism grows over an ongoing crackdown following July’s failed coup; but, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is warning Brussels that Ankara is now ready to go its own way.

The EU parliament is set to deal another blow to Ankara’s membership aspirations, with the group Tuesday discussing a motion on whether to suspend talks. “Opposition against President Erdogan seems reason enough for people to be arrested, prosecuted or sacked from their jobs,” said Rebecca Harms, co-president of the parliament’s Greens/EFA group in a statement ahead of the debate. “The EU needs to send a strong message that he cannot continue in this vein and should freeze the accession negotiations.”

Observers say the EU parliament will likely vote in favor of suspension on Thursday. The vote is only advisory, but analysts say Turkey’s EU bid is alive in name only.

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