The European Commission has once again raised objections to Turkey's bid to become a member of the European Union. In its annual report published on Tuesday, the Commission cited a wide array of factors that made Ankara's entry into the European Union untenable as of now. Turkey's (EU) accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill, the report said.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the Union, said in its report that Ankara has failed to sustain democracy, ensure judicial independence, promote economic growth, fight corruption and decentralize power.
The European Commission also noted that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned into brutal suppression of political opposition after the failed 2016 coup and that too much power has fallen into his hands.
"Turkey remains a key partner for the European Union. However, Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union with serious backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary," the report said.
"The EU's serious concerns on continued negative developments in the rule of law, fundamental rights and the judiciary have not been credibly addressed by Turkey," the report added.
Turkey's efforts to gain the coveted membership of the European Union have never been easy. The primary hurdle for the bid, which started in 2005, was Turkey's caims to Cyprus. In recent times, Greece's opposition to Turkish accession to the EU also grew following Turkey's aggressive claims to eastern Mediterranean waters. The Turkish war mongering over the raging conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh will also impede Ankara's efforts further in future.
Meanwhile, Turkey rejected the Commission report, saying it was biased. "Just as it (Turkey) is not straying from the EU, it remains committed to the EU membership process despite attempts by some circles to push it away ... Turkey is acting within the framework of universal norms, in line with fundamental rights, democracy and the principle of rule of law," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Though Turkey's bid to enter the European Union has all but evaporated for now, Ankara remains a crucial partner for the EU. Once known as the pariah state in Europe, Turkey now receives billions of dollars in foreign investment from the EU countries.
The European Union also depends on Turkey to stop the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe. The EU has already given a $7 billion incentive to Turkey to prevent the refugees from the Middle East flooding into Europe.