has advised Turkey
to cancel a proposed overhaul of its constitution or forfeit its request to join the European Union
The European Parliament “calls on the Commission and the member states, in accordance with the Negotiating Framework, to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged,” the EU stated on Thursday.
Turkey rejected the EU’s demand to stop the constitutional overhaul as unacceptable, questioning its rationality.
Turkey rejects any proposals to drop European Union accession talks, said Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Thursday.
Celik said it was wrong for EU lawmakers to call for the suspension of Turkey’s membership talks, adding demands of this nature would be answered “with the back of our hand”.
“Europe displaying inappropriate behavior towards Turkey is not a situation we can accept,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.
Turkey held a referendum on changes in the constitution in April, expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President Erdogan says the constitutional overhaul is needed to ensure stability in Turkey.
Opposition parties and human rights groups, however, say the constitutional reforms threaten judicial independence and push Turkey towards a one-man leadership.
EU leaders have sided with the opposition on the matter, criticizing Erdogan over the overhaul, as well as his government’s harsh crackdown on its opponents after a failed coup attempt against Ankara.
Turkey has been critical of the EU’s stance and expressed resentment against President Erdogan. “Being against our President Erdogan is also not a rational stance from Europe,” said Kurtulmus.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 6, 2017 (Photo by AFP)
Kurtulmus pointed out that the Turks will run their country as they deem appropriate, and in regard to the EU accession, the onus was upon the Europeans to decide.
“Europe must decide… Do they really want to enlarge?” he asked.
In the meantime, EU leaders are reluctant to exert much pressure on Ankara, fearing to undermine an agreement struck last year whereby Turkey effectively stopped refugees headed to Europe.