EU’s Hahn says Turkey joining EU ‘unrealistic’ under Erdoğan

Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, has said the prospect of Turkey joining the EU is becoming “more and more unrealistic” under the regime of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Hahn said he couldn’t rule out that the EU may soon stop accession talks with Turkey, he told Bild newspaper in an interview published Monday evening.

A continuation of those talks is only possible if there are “substantial advances in the area of the rule of law,” he said, but the authoritarian course of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the planned constitutional changes towards a presidential system were “a departure from Europe.”

Turkey is a candidate to join the EU, although the membership negotiations have made little progress over the past decade. The country has become a vital partner in a deal with the EU to curb the passage of migrants and refugees from Turkey into Europe.

Hahn also said he saw no chance for the introduction of visa-free travel for Turks in the EU, one of the promises under the EU-Turkey deal struck to stop the migrant influx into the Union, because Ankara had refused to fulfill essential conditions.

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan has said on Tuesday that Ankara will be at the negotiating table with the EU to discuss its future following April referendum. Saying that the EU had been dragging out Turkey’s accession process for many years, “That’s not how it works. We will do whatever is necessary,” he added.

Erdoğan also said Turkey would hold the EU to account over Hüseyin Kurt’s mistreatment after the referendum. Kurt was among thousands of Turkish-origin people who gathered in front of Turkish consulate in Rotterdam to protest against the Netherlands’ ban on Turkish ministers who were prevented from meeting expat voters. “We will hold them to account after April 16 for dragging my brother Hüseyin Kurt to the ground in the Netherlands,” Erdoğan said.

Referring to the incidents, Erdoğan said European countries had disregarded all diplomatic norms by not allowing Turkish ministers into their countries. Erdoğan said that the current Europe was “the racist, fascist and cruel” continent from before the Second World War.

According to Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, some EU states do not want to see a Turkey with political stability and economic strength. Claiming that the current parliamentary system in Turkey was not providing stability, Bozdağ said on Tuesday that “After observing the stance of Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and some EU countries, I understand how important our attempt to change the system is.”

Saying that European states, including Germany, allow the PKK terror group to organize demonstrations while Turkish ministers face bans, Bozdağ continued “This is an incomprehensible situation.” Bozdag has also reminded that Turkey had demanded the extradition of 443 suspects from Germany and other EU countries since 2007 but only 12 had been handed over.

“For example, we requested Germany extradite 177 people but they give only two of them to us. We demanded 11 people from the Netherlands; they extradited one. None of our demanded suspects were extradited from Austria. We demanded 32 PKK members to be extradited form France; none of them are extradited,” he added.

In recent weeks, Ankara and several European countries have been involved in a diplomatic row after Turkish ministers were not allowed to campaign in some cities ahead of the April referendum. (SCF with March 21, 2017

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