For years, Turkey and the EU have cooperated on issues such as trade, migration and NATO. Talks for Turkey to join the EU began in 2005. After an attempted coup d’état in 2016, Turkey imposed a state of emergency, allowing the government to bypass the rule of law and silence political opponents. The EU says that the country can’t join the European Union unless the human rights situation improves.
Vice-Chair of the Delegation on EU-Turkey relations Miltiadis Kyrkos explains where talks stand.
"It is in Turkey's interest to stop the state of emergency. Release journalists and the head of Amnesty International and the German citizens and everyone who is in jail without judicial process. The accession talks with Turkey have been frozen because of the violation of human rights and the aftermath of the coup. I don't agree with the image of Europe dangling a carrot and spanking Turkey if it is not behaving. We should work with the chapters that we have at our disposal, showing to the Turkish citizens and to the Turkish government, that we are there to support, to help. Is president Erdogan ready to accept rule of law, respect of human rights, the Copenhagen criteria, if yes, let's start tomorrow. If not, he must take responsibility to the Turkish people that the roadmap to Europe is blocked by him. He must lead Turkey to its future which in my opinion passes through the European Union. Turkey's position in the world must combine with Europe's but that cannot happen unless Turkey decides that it is so".