(IRNA) - Turkey's quest to join the European Union could come to a halt this year because of concerns over Ankara's human rights record and tensions with Cyprus, the European daily `Financial Times' reported Tuesday quoting an internal EU document.
A hard-hitting draft report for a key EU-Turkey meeting next week says Ankara has done too little to implement reforms and has failed to protect freedom of expression and of religion or rein in its military, reports Trend.
"The pace of change has slowed in the last year," the paper says.
"There is an isolation already in force and an urgent need to implement further legislative initiatives...Further efforts are needed to ensure the EU of full civilian control over the military in line with the practice of member states," notes the draft report
Furthermore, there are concerns over "reports of torture and ill-treatment" and the many cases pending against individuals for simply expressing their opinions.
"Turkey's problems are all the greater since Brussels has given Ankara an ultimatum to resolve its dispute with Cyprus this year, but "prospects for a breakthrough appear as distant as they have ever been," commented the `Financial Times', which is printed and distributed simultaneously in several European cities including Brussels.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has warned that the deadlock over the divided island could lead to a "train crash" in Turkey's membership negotiations with the EU this year.
The EU is to hold its first meeting with Turkey on the latter's membership quest next Tuesday.