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Turkey says EU is ‘unjust and biased’ on membership bid

eu executives hold a press conference on ukraine's progress towards membership in brussels
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen holds a press conference for Neighbourhood and Enlargement in Brussels, Belgium November 8, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The European Commission’s annual report on Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership bid is “unjust and biased”, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

The report by the European Union’s executive arm on Wednesday criticised Turkey’s “serious backsliding” on democratic standards, the rule of law, human rights and judicial independence.

“We categorically reject unfounded claims and unjust criticisms, particularly on the political criteria and the Chapter on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Commission also said Turkey did not comply with the principles of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms in its fight against terrorism.

The Turkish ministry said the allegations were unfair and highlighted “the insincerity of EU’s approach and a clear double-standard”, adding that fundamental rights issues were contentious even among EU member states.

The Commission’s report is meant to update Turkey’s progress towards meeting standards for EU membership, and could strain ties that are already troubled over immigration and, more recently, the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group in Gaza.

Turkey’s bid to join the EU has been frozen for years after having launched membership talks in 2005.

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