The European Commission just published its yearly progress reports for EU accession countries. While countries such as Macedonia and Albania are taking positive steps, Erdogan's authoritarian policies are leading Turkey's accession negotiations in the opposite direction. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake:
"What should have been a progress report has turned into a report about deterioration. Less than a month ago Erdogan claimed EU membership to be one of his 'strategic objectives'. Yet in the meantime he is actively steering Turkey away from Europe by flagrantly violating fundamental principles such as human rights, freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary. We need to send a clear message: Erdogan's dictatorial policies are what is closing the door to Europe for the Turkish population."
While criticizing the rule of law, the European Commission openly commends Erdogan's work on migration. Schaake reiterates that this sends completely the wrong signal. She worries the European Commission has become hostage to its own refugee deal with Turkey.
"This deal has practically provided Erdogan with a blank check. It was recently reported that the Turkish army not only pushes Syrian refugees back across the border, but also fires at them from Cobra vehicles financed by the EU. An investigation into the circumstances under which financial assistance was provided is essential. If we fail to condemn this behaviour in the strongest terms, we risk losing all our credibility in Turkey."