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EU Commissioner: Turkey must take on democratic reforms to revive EU bid

A senior EU official has said that revival of Turkey’s stalled membership negotiations with the EU can only be discussed once Ankara takes on democratic reforms.
EU Council President Charles Michel (R) arrives with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 9, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi relayed to Ankara on Wednesday that Turkey must implement democratic reforms in order to revive its decadeslong stalled membership bid to join the bloc.

Varhelyi traveled to the Turkish capital to meet with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and other high-level officials after the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tabled reviving his country’s stalled EU membership negotiations in return for his greenlight of Sweden’s accession to NATO on the sidelines of the NATO summit in July. 

Speaking alongside Fidan following their meeting, Varhelyi recalled that the membership negotiations between Ankara and Brussels have been at a “standstill” since 2018. 

“For this to be remobilized, there are very clear criteria set out by the European Council that need to be addressed. These criteria are related to democracy and the rule of law,” he told reporters. 

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