EU Parliament backs motion to freeze Turkey's accession
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 24
The European Parliament adopted a temporary motion on Nov. 24, urging member-states to freeze Turkey's accession in the bloc, the Daily Sabah reported.
The vote threatens to deepen the rift between Ankara and the European Union, although it will not be binding and European Union states are for the most part against halting the drawn-out accession process.
The Ministry for EU Affairs has released a statement regarding the vote on Turkey-EU relations, saying that the European Council has the final decision-making power to temporarily suspend membership negotiations.
"Even if a decision suggesting the suspension of negotiations with Turkey is made after voting in the European Parliament, such a decision will not be legally binding" the statement added.
Earlier in the week, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that halting Turkey's accession process would be a "lose-lose" move.
President Erdoğan warned the EU last week to make a decision by year's end on Turkey's membership or he would call a referendum on the matter.
Last Friday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he hopes Turkey will not give up on negotiations for the country to be part of the European Union, and that such a would not be a win for Europe.
Relations between Turkey and Europe have been stalled by many issues, including the failure of the EU to grant visa liberalization for Turkish citizens as promised and EU's indifference to the coup attempt and terrorist organizations attacking Turkey.
The EU and Turkey signed a refugee deal on March 18, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Although Turkey fulfilled most of the criteria, differences between Brussels and Ankara on anti-terror legislation have forestalled the visa-liberalization deal.
Ankara criticized the European Union's stance on the PKK terror group and FETÖ, saying EU states are turning a blind eye to the terror attacks against the Turkish state and its people as well as the activities of the group within the borders of the EU.
Turkey began its EU accession talks in 2005. In 1963, Turkey and the European Economic Community (the EU's former name) signed an association agreement.