European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, says Turkey is distancing itself from the European Union and will not become a member of the bloc in the “foreseeable future.”
In his “State of the European Union” address on Wednesday, Juncker said Turkey has for some time been “moving away from the European Union in leaps and bounds.”
He criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the government in Ankara for arresting journalists and calling EU leaders “fascists and Nazis.”
“Journalists belong in editorial offices amid heated debate, and not in prison. I appeal today to the powers that be in Turkey: Let our journalists go. And not just our journalists”.
“Europe is a continent of mature democracy, those who knowingly offend pull up the drawbridge and sometimes I have the impression that there are those in Turkey who want to pull up the drawbridge and later blame the European Union for the failure of accession negotiations.
“From our side, there will always be an outstretched hand, outstretched to the great people of Turkey and to all those who are willing to work with us on the basis of our shared values”, Juncker said.
The majority of Germans have said they oppose Turkish EU membership, and say accession talks with the country should end.
Halting accession talks with Turkey would be a strategic mistake by the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.