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European MPs Vote To Block Turkey From Joining EU

MPs in Europe block Turkey from joining EU

Turkish leaders are ‘furious’ after European MPs voted to block Turkey from joining the EU after President Erdogan’s tyrannical crackdown on dissidents. 

The European Parliament voted to suspend Turkey’s EU membership bid after Erdogan began rounding up anti-government citizens following the failed attempted coup in July.

Erdogan has dismissed the non-binding vote as “worthless” and accused the EU of supporting terrorists in response to their vote.

BBC News reports:

Turkey’s EU accession talks began in 2005, but only one of the 35 policy areas – called “chapters” – has been closed. A country is only ready to join the EU when it has met the criteria in all 35 chapters.

MEPs say Thursday’s non-binding resolution aims to send a political message to President Erdogan. But it will fall on deaf ears, the BBC’s Mark Lowen reports from Istanbul.

The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority of MEPs, with 479 votes in favour and 37 against, with 107 abstentions.

After the coup attempt by mutinous Turkish military officers Mr Erdogan accused the EU of siding with “terrorism” rather than supporting his country.

Strategic ally

MEPs are concerned about his crackdown on opponents. About 120,000 Turks have been dismissed or suspended from their public sector jobs, 40,000 arrested, scores of journalists rounded up and opposition pro-Kurdish MPs detained.

But Turkey is a key player in Europe’s efforts to curb the influx of non-EU migrants and in containing the threat from Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the vote would not yield positive results and urged engagement with Turkey.

The fear is that an increasingly anti-Western Mr Erdogan could jettison the EU-Turkey deal, struck in March, to stem the migrant flow to Europe.

European leaders are unlikely to adhere to the MEPs’ vote, our correspondent says. But, he adds, for now nobody expects that Turkey’s decades-long dream of EU accession will become a reality.

The MEPs’ resolution said Turkey should remain “anchored” to the EU, and they pledged to review their position once the “disproportionate repressive measures” in Turkey were lifted.

“Turkey is an important partner of the EU,” they said. “But in partnerships, the will to co-operate has to be two-sided… Turkey is not showing this political will as the government’s actions are further diverting Turkey from its European path.”