EU lawmakers don’t want to admit Turkey

Some EU lawmakers want to halt discussions of the terms for letting Turkey join the European Union.

Several European Parliament ministers spoke against continuing what are called “ascension talks” for Turkey at a meeting on April 26.

As Belgian European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt pointed out such talks effectively ceased after Turkey passed a referendum granting President Erdogan sweeping powers and an almost unlimited term in office.

“They are not formally suspended, but in fact suspended,” he said.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, said he feared Turkey would get increasingly farther away from European Union standards, “especially with regard to the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.”

Erdogan imprisoned many political rivals and journalists after a failed coup attempt in July 2016. Many of those are still in jail.

British EP Minister Syed Kamall pointed out that Turkey seemed unconcerned by general prejudice against its large Muslim population, and that if admitted, Turkey, which lies largely in Asia, would extend the EU’s borders to Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

“We need to be honest with Turkey,” he stated, “that it may never be a member of the EU. There are too many concerns.”

Dutch EP Minister Kati Piri pointed out that while Turkey could not be offered full EU membership, the EU could still offer favorable trade deals to try to tempt Turkey into implementing reforms in exchange for financial gains.

“There cannot be a value-free transactional relationship only, where human rights and democracy are no longer important,” she suggested. “We can use the economic power of the EU s a leverage for promoting reforms in Turkey.”