Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak at a press conference in 2016. Photo: Adam Berry | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The European Commission is set to announce a report on Tuesday regarding Turkish membership in the European Union. The report is expected to be “worst” since Turkey re-launched the membership bid.
“With the exception of cooperation on Syrian refugees, Turkey and the European Union are drifting apart on human rights, press and judicial freedoms and the rule of law,” two unnamed officials told Reuters.
German newspaper Die Welt reported seeing part of the commission’s report that says “Turkey has taken big steps away from the EU.”
Tuesday’s annual report will be published in Strasbourg, France to evaluate how far Turkey and other countries wishing to become EU members have progressed in line with EU standards and values.
Turkey has repeatedly said that they have not given up their dream of becoming an EU member.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed EU and Turkish representatives in Varna, Bulgaria during a summit on March 26.
“Indeed Turkey still does not have any point other than becoming a member of European Union,” he said.
The EU and Turkey have an agreement where Turkey agrees to host 3.5 million Syrian refugees to prevent the refugees from seeking asylum in Europe. In return, Turkey can receive up to €20 billion in over three years in the deal that began in 2017.
Still in parts of the leaked report, Turkey is regarded as a “key partner” in a number of policy areas, in particular migration.
"Cooperation with the EU on migration continues to produce concrete and remarkable results in reducing illegal and dangerous crossings and saving lives in the Mediterranean," the report states, reported by Germany’s state-run Deutsche Welle news portal.
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and it was declared eligible to start talks with EU, with the support from the UK, Sweden and Italy. The country took some steps toward convincing EU that Turkey is in line with its policies, starting with the abolition of death penalty in 2002. Finally, talks began in 2005.
Germany and Turkish relations have soured over a number of issues including Turkey’s treatment of journalists and academics, Germany withdrawing its air wing from Incirlik after lawmakers were forbidden from inspecting the base, and German-made tanks being used in the Afrin assault.
During Turkey’s constitutional referendum, anti-Erdogan protestors clashed with his supporters. Ankara is also upset with Berlin not cracking down or extraditing YPG and PKK supporters, although Germany officially banned PKK imagery at public rallies in 2017.
The Turkish parliament is expected to convene on Wednesday and extend its state of emergency for the seventh time.