EU parliament advises freeze of Turkey’s membership talks


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – The European Parliament has advised the European Union to freeze accession talks with Turkey amid growing concerns over the country’s human rights and democracy.

The legislature voted by a wide margin to approve a non-binding report recommending the suspension of the negotiations in the wake Turkey’s referendum in April that saw a series of constitutional amendments to give the president sweeping new powers approved.

It calls on the 28 EU states to formally suspend the talks “without delay” if the constitutional reforms are implemented without change.

Anticipating the vote, Turkey’s EU affairs minister said the decision would go down in history as a “terrible mistake” and that European lawmakers should be standing in solidarity with Turkey, following last year’s failed coup attempt.

Omer Celik, speaking at the start of talks with EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn in Ankara, said now was the time for legislators to show “a strong solidarity” with Turkey.

“Instead, we are getting calls for the negotiations to be suspended, which is extremely wrong,” he added.

The minister also said Turkey would never accept any proposal to reformulate EU-Turkish ties through a series of agreements on immigration, combating terrorism, and trade.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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