EUROPE >Turkey must stick to democratic values to join EU, says Juncker

FRANKFURT AM MAIN – Agence France-Presse

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European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on July 16 urged Turkey to uphold democratic values if it hopes to join the European Union, a year after a failed coup bid.

Juncker’s comments came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech to parliament on the anniversary of the attempted coup, following mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul.

“Whoever wants to join the European Union is joining a union of values,” Juncker wrote in an op-ed for German weekly Bild Sonntag.

“Europe’s hand remains outstretched,” he added, but it expects that “Turkey too should clearly show its European colors and emphatically take basic European values to heart.”

In his speech, Erdoğan vowed to sign any bill lawmakers pass on reintroducing the death penalty -- seen as a red line by the EU officials in Turkey’s bid to join th bloc.

The European Commission is in charge of accession negotiations for prospective new members, with Turkey’s dossier largely frozen since last July’s failed coup attempt.

In his article, Juncker warned in particular against the detention without trial of journalists including Deniz Yücel of German daily Die Welt.

This was “in no way compatible with a union of human rights, press freedom and the rule of law,” he said.


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