EU commissioner says Turkey is distancing itself from European values

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 25 : European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn, Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry (not seen) and The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini (not seen) hold a joint press conference after the EU-Egypt Association Council meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on July 25, 2017. AFP

Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, has said Turkey is rapidly distancing itself from European values and that this has had a negative impact on Turkey-European Union relations.

Hahn’s remarks came before a meeting on Tuesday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik in Brussels.

Warning against the economic consequences of a disagreement between the EU and Turkey over the rule of the law, Hahn said they would discuss it with the Turkish ministers but expect differences of opinion.

Hahn said the crisis between the EU and Turkey had negatively influenced people’s decisions to travel to Turkey due to the ambiguity and fragility of the situation there. According to Hahn, if Turkey continues to present the same fragile image, investments in the country would also be negatively affected.

A resolution calling for the freezing of membership negotiations with Turkey if Ankara implements a constitutional overhaul, backed by a referendum in April, was adopted with a large majority of votes in the European Parliament on July 6.

The resolution, proposed by Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament Kati Piri, “calls on the Commission and the member states, in accordance with the Negotiating Framework, to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.”

The decision was grounded on the incompatibility of the reform package with the principle of separation of powers and the Copenhagen criteria.

A total of 638 out of 751 MEPs attended the vote, with 477 voting in favor of the resolution, while 64 voted against and 94 abstained.

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