The European Union (EU) says talks with Turkey to potentially accept Ankara’s accession to the bloc have reached a deadlock over alleged Turkish rights violations and judicial failures.
“The council (of ministers) notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union,” said a statement issued Tuesday following a meeting of EU European affairs ministers in Luxembourg.
“Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill,” the statement said, citing numerous human rights violations as well as the conduct of the country’s judiciary system.
“The council is especially concerned about the continuing and deeply worrying backsliding on the rule of law and on fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression,” it added.
The statement referred to mass arrests and dismissals “targeting journalists, academics, members of political parties including parliamentarians, human rights defenders, social media users and others exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms” as evidence of rights violations.
The development came just a couple of days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election on Sunday. The EU issued only a short statement of congratulation.
The EU ministers said, however, that Ankara remained a “key partner” for the Western bloc on matters such as aiding to block the persisting stream of refugees and asylum seekers into Europe.
The EU’s ties with Ankara have steadily deteriorated particularly since an attempted coup in 2016, after which Ankara started a wide-scale crackdown on suspected putschists.