The European Union (EU) denounced human rights conditions and democratic standards in Turkey in a new report obtained by the Associated Press (AP) Tuesday. The report comes at a time when the EU is seeking help from Ankara to deal with its ongoing refugee crisis, which is being noted as the largest influx of asylum-seekers since the Second World War.
The EU report was in reference to a possible membership for Turkey and it said that "the pace of reforms slowed down," the AP reported. The report added that some legislations "ran against European standards," and that "major shortcomings remain" regarding the issue of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
According to AP, the report’s release was delayed so as not to affect the last week’s elections in Turkey. The EU is currently discussing a plan with Ankara to reduce the influx of refugees from Syria to Europe and offering it a package, including an aid of 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). The EU report said that Ankara spent over 6.7 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to host about 2 million refugees from Syria.
"The Commission hopes to see an end to the escalating violence in Turkey and the return to negotiations on a lasting solution on the Kurdish issue," Johannes Hahn, the commissioner in charge of EU enlargement, told the European Parliament on Tuesday, according to Reuters, adding: "In the past year, significant shortcomings affected the independence of the judiciary as well as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, in particular as regards increased pressure and intimidation of journalists " Hahn said.
The report also said that there is "significant backsliding in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly," instead of relating more to the European standards on democratic principles, while the country’s efforts in tackling widespread corruption was "inadequate."
Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday called for more reforms and the creation of a new constitution, under the single-party government, within four years.
"The Nov.1 election ushered in four years of stability and confidence. Let's make this period a time of reforms, prioritizing a new constitution," Erdogan said, according to Reuters, during a commemoration ceremony for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding father of the country.
According to the United Nations refugee agency, this winter, about 5,000 refugees are expected to enter Greece from Turkey on a daily basis, according to BBC.