The EU executive has said that “excessively” centralized presidential power is worsening conditions in terms of freedom of expression, prisons and the central bank, with the government exposing Turkey to “rapidly changing investor confidence”.
“The EU’s serious concerns about the continuing negative developments in the rule of law, fundamental rights and the judiciary have not been credibly addressed by Turkey,” the Commission said in its annual report on the country. Turkey’s (EU) accession has effectively stopped. “
Allied to NATO, Turkey has been negotiating its accession to the EU since 2005, following economic and political reforms that have turned it into a major emerging market economy and trading partner.
Although negotiations have never been easy because of Turkish claims to Cyprus, talks have quickly worsened following a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016 and subsequent repression by President Tayyip Erdogan against perceived opponents.
“In Turkey, the decline seen since the 2016 coup attempt has continued,” the commission said.
Turkey has faced harsh reports from the Commission for several years, and the EU executive has once again stepped up its criticism, citing monetary policy, public administration and widespread corruption as failures by the Turkish government.
While the EU, Turkey’s largest foreign investor, relies on the country to host about 4 million Syrians who have fled as a result of the civil war, Brussels has also reiterated its threat to impose economic sanctions. on Ankara due to an energy dispute in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece.
EU leaders agreed last week to consider sanctions if Turkey continues to explore oil and gas in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.
“In the event of renewed unilateral action or challenges that violate international law …, the EU will use all the tools and options at its disposal,” the report said.
Turkey on Tuesday rejected the European Commission’s report as “biased and far from constructive”, saying Ankara rejects criticism of its economy, democracy and courts and remains committed to the EU’s accession process.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said sections of the report on tensions in the eastern Mediterranean tarnished the Commission’s objectivity, adding that Ankara was acting in accordance with democratic rules and international law.
“Our sincere desire is for the EU to look at the candidate nation Turkey not through the narrow and selfish interests of some circles, but rather through the broader and common interests of our continent, the common vision,” the ministry said.