ibusinesslines.com March 19, 2018

EU says up to Turkey to clarify stance on membership talks

27 April 2017, 03:59 | Erica Roy

"Investors are watching how the relationship between Europe and Turkey will continue in the post-referendum period", Firat Topal, a director of emerging markets sales & sales trading at Vienna-based Raiffeisen Centrobank AG, said by email.

Many MEPs voiced concern at the way Turkey's referendum, which backed expanding presidential powers, was conducted, calling it unfair.

"Warning Turkey to respect civil rights in keeping with a constitutional state, Merkel said it was "neither in Europe nor Turkey's interest" for either side to turn away from the other".

The move is likely to harm Turkey's already stalling accession talks to the European Union.

Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. "The EU should officially suspend the accession talks if the constitutional changes are implemented unchanged", Piri said.

Turkey's government cancelled the visit of German lawmaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Bernd Fabritius to the country, Deutsche Welle reports.

This follows a "Yes" vote to a referendum held last week in Turkey which will abolish the post of prime minister and concentrate power in the hands of the president, the biggest overhaul of Turkey's political system since the modern state was established almost a century ago.

Turkey's main opposition party will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the acceptance of unstamped ballots in the April 16 referendum to expand President Tayyip Erdogan's powers, a party spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Mr Erdogan said: "There is not a single thing that we are not ready to do, the minute they ask for it".

"Of course, it's not the end of the world, but it's nevertheless a cause of serious concern because even though the Council of Europe is not a body of the European Union, the bloc is very attentive to this institution's decisions", said Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul based Centre for Economic and Political Studies (EDAM), arguing that Turkey should have proceeded with democratic reforms, as expected by the EU. "They are finding it very hard to absorb a Muslim country like Turkey". Erdogan said he would be closely watching. "They are finding it very hard to absorb a Muslim country like Turkey", he said. The Turkish leader hinted at a softening of Russia's support for the Syrian president.

Erdogan stressed that the ongoing state of emergency and mass suspensions of state employees were measures against terrorist threats in the wake of the deadly July 15 coup attempt. Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq's Sinjar province and in northeast Syria on Tuesday, in a widening campaign against groups linked to the PKK.

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