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23 Apr, 2021 17:27

Turkey's EU membership application should be torn up if Ankara's ‘negative’ actions not reversed – MEPs

Turkey's EU membership application should be torn up if Ankara's ‘negative’ actions not reversed – MEPs

Negotiations for Turkey to join the EU should be scrapped if the government does not change its behavior on a number of areas, including the rule of law and fundamental rights, a group of the bloc's lawmakers has said.

Members of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee backed a new report on Turkey's EU accession by 49 votes, with four against and 14 abstentions on Thursday.

In their report, MEPs say EU-Turkey relations have plummeted to a “historic low point” after Ankara has “distanced itself deliberately” from European values and waged a “hostile foreign policy” toward Greece and Cyprus.

“If the current negative trend is not urgently and consistently reversed, the [European] Commission should recommend that accession negotiations be formally suspended,” the committee said on Friday, in a statement on the issue.

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The committee's report will be put before the wider European Parliament for a vote and, if adopted, will represent the body's official stance on the bloc's relations with Turkey.

In recent months, EU chiefs have raised fresh concerns over a number of issues, including Turkey's alleged legal crackdown on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) over its alleged links to Kurdish militants.

Brussels and Ankara have also sparred over Turkey's gas drilling in a seabed in the contested waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, an area claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

In November, member states agreed sanctions over Turkey's alleged encroachment of their territory.

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Ankara has repeatedly denied such claims and last month accused some EU member state governments of making “narrow-minded allegations” against Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to leave EU accession talks if progress isn't forthcoming.

The country's bid to join the world's biggest trading bloc began in 2005, but negotiations have seriously stalled.

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