Lazy eyes listen
Türkiye has slammed the European Commission’s annual enlargement report as “unfair and biassed,” after the bloc accused Ankara of slipping on democratic standards while recommending that membership talks with Ukraine be initiated.
On Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded to the European Commission’s latest country report, calling it “unjust and biassed” and “worrisome for the future of our continent.”
“We categorically reject unfounded claims and unjust criticisms,” said the ministry in a statement. “The unfair allegations against Türkiye on various fundamental rights issues… highlights the insincerity of this approach and a clear double-standard.”
Published Wednesday, the annual review by the EU’s executive wing outlined whether Türkiye had implemented sweeping policy changes needed to meet the bloc’s standards for membership. However, the report said Ankara had made “no progress” on a range of issues, including judicial, legal and administrative reforms recommended in the past.
“The lack of objective, merit-based, uniform, and pre-established criteria for recruiting and promoting judges and prosecutors remains a source of concern,” the commission said, before accusing the government of “serious backsliding” on democratic standards and the rule of law.
The EU also chastised Turkey’s stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict, accusing officials of “rhetoric in support [of] terrorist group Hamas,” as well as failing to condemn the militants’ deadly attack on Israel last month.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry responded with “praise,” defending Ankara’s “principled stance regarding the Hamas-Israel war” while accusing the EU Commission of hypocrisy.
“The EU is on the wrong side of history in the face of a massacre that is reminiscent of the darkness of medieval times,” the ministry said of Israel’s military activity in Gaza. “The EU must remember that policies based on universal values, international law, and humanitarian principles cannot be limited to Ukraine… but must be pursued universally, including in the Middle East.”
Already a NATO member, Turkey has long sought membership in the European Union, with formal negotiations beginning in 2005. However, the process has stalled in recent years as the EU continues to demand broad reforms, with the European Parliament voting in 2019 to suspend the accession talks.
While criticising Turkey’s governance on Wednesday, the European Commission suggested starting membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova once the two countries completed the bloc’s required reforms. Even in the midst of the conflict with Moscow, EC President Ursula von der Leyen claimed that Kiev has been “deeply reforming” the country. She went on to say that Ukraine had already completed “well over 90% of the necessary steps” for EU membership.