EU rapporteur says Turkey not yet ready to join Union

EU rapporteur says Turkey not yet ready to join Union

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 23

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Turkey is not ready to join the EU, as it has not yet met all the standards set for membership, Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament Rapporteur on Turkey Kati Piri told Trend in an interview.

"Especially in the fields of human rights and rule of law, the pace of reforms has slowed down during the last years," Piri said.

Meanwhile she noted visa-free regime between the EU and Turkey should be possible within a short period of time.

"There are no obstacles to abolish the visa requirements for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU, if the technical criteria are met," Piri said.

Ankara applied for the EU membership in 1987, and negotiations on Turkey's accession started in 2005.

Since then, the parties have agreed on 14 out of 35 technical points that Ankara must fulfill to achieve the standards required for EU membership.

In January 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country is no longer interested in the EU accession.

Previously, the then Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made the same statement, and the then Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkır noted that the accession negotiations "cannot continue in the format required by the EU," and stressed that democracy in Turkey is at a higher level than in some European countries.

In 2015 only 20 percent of Turkish population wanted the country to join the EU compared to 75 percent previously.

At the moment, the EU and Turkey are negotiating on a common action plan, which envisages the EU's financial assistance in the amount of 3 billion euros, the intensification of negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU and the intensification of the visa abolition process for Turkish citizens.

Turkey, in turn, will have to improve the living conditions of refugees hosted in the country, prevent the flow of migrants to the EU from its territory and repatriate the illegal immigrants who came to the EU through Turkey.

Edited by SI

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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