The European Union slammed Turkey’s abysmal human rights record today in its annual progress report on the country’s fading bid to join the bloc. Using some of the harshest language since Turkey formally began full membership talks with Brussels in 2005, the EU commission said the process had “effectively come to a standstill” and that there had been “serious backsliding” in terms of rule of law and fundamental human rights.
The statistics were chilling. As of December 2018, the total number of people in prison without indictment or pending trial is 57,000, which amounts to more than 20% of Turkey’s ever swelling prison population, the commission said. The body also took aim at the annulment of mayoral elections in Istanbul in March won by the pro-secular main opposition after 25 years of rule by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its Islamist forerunners. The commission argued that it went “against the very core of a democratic electoral process — that is to ensure that the will of the people prevails.”