Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with representatives of the European Union last January. (Photo: KAYHAN OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

Growing Sentiment in EU to End Membership Talks with Erdogan’s Turkey

Sentiment among European Union states to put an end to Turkey’s hopes of attaining membership in the alliance is growing as rapidly as President Erdogan’s post-coup purge and assault on civil rights. On Tuesday, the heads of the European Parliament’s two largest factions unequivocally called for an end to the ongoing negotiations for Turkish membership in the EU. Despite Erdogan’s long held and well known desire to see his country join the EU – he has been lobbying to join for the past eleven years — he was apparently willing to give it all up after surviving an attempted coup d’état when he called for a law to create a death penalty – a move that in itself would have ended Turkey’s eligibility to join the EU. And beyond that, Erdogan has showed no inclination to ease the purge of his perceived enemies — incarcerating thousands while suspending more than 100,000 others from their military, academic, journalistic and judicial jobs. Gianni Pitella, the head of the socialist bloc, which is the second largest group within the EU Parliament, admonished that, “Our political message towards Turkey is that human rights, civil rights, democracy are non-negotiable if you want to be part of the EU.” For his part, Erdogan appears angered but unbent in response to the flood of criticism from the EU warning that he will turn to China and Russia to create a security alliance.

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