EU pressure mounts over Turkey, PM Erdoğan
Emine Kart / Sevil Erkuş BRUSSELS / ANKARA
DHA PhotoTough times may be ahead for Turkey and the government in the wake of the latest progress report on Turkey’s EU accession process, which called on the Turkish government to further respect fundamental rights in practice.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has come in for a large amount of criticism from EU officials following the release the report, particularly over the Gezi protests and the country’s Syria policy.
“The capacity for leadership from Erdoğan has [been found wanting]. The potential has disappeared and it is obvious that the EU is not his priority anymore,” one member of the European Parliament said.
As the prime minister faces criticism over his policies, Turkey was urged to “further respect fundamental rights in practice.”
In its strategy paper, the European Commission said the “excessive use of force by police and the overall absence of dialogue” during the Gezi protests had raised “serious concerns,” but expressed its will to open the chapter on the Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, as well as Justice, Freedom and Security as soon as possible to “enhance the EU’s dialogue with Turkey in those areas where the union called for progress.”
The European Union’s annual progress report reflects the bloc’s reservations over the Erdoğangovernment’s handling the Syria conflict and the Gezi park protests. The government’s recent policy choices also make EU’s priority for Turkey questionable for European parliamenters.
The European Commission, in its enlargement strategy paper for 2013-2014, called on Turkey to respect fundamental rights in practice, while its progress report allocated considerable space for deficiencies in the areas of the judiciary and fundamental rights.