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EU parliament votes to halt accession talks with Turkey

The European legislature’s decision to break off Turkey's membership negotiations has no legal bearing, but it does indicate where a line might be drawn in Europe.
Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik reacts during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, March 14, 2017. Picture taken March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX3127J

The European Parliament voted July 6 to suspend accession negotiations with Turkey. According to Reuters, the legislative body of the European Union debated the report by Turkey rapporteur and fellow parliamentarian Kati Piri and called “on the Commission and the member states … to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.” Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum is set to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan powers that will make him as powerful as (if not more powerful than) the Turkish parliament.

In response, Turkey’s Minister of EU Affairs Omer Celik criticized the European parliamentarians. He said they had “no right to make such a call” and called upon European lawmakers to “respect the will of the Turkish people.” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whose post will be abolished once the constitutional amendments come into effect in 2019, called the EU decision “null and void.”

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