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European Parliament votes to freeze talks on Turkey's membership

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The European Parliament has voted to freeze membership talks with Turkey as tensions escalate over its crackdown after an attempted coup.


Europe has become increasingly alarmed over human rights and democracy in Turkey since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan brought in draconian measures after the bid to overthrow his government in July.

Almost 37,000 people have been arrested, businesses closed down and measures taken against the media.

MEPs said the parliament "strongly condemns the disproportionate repressive measures taken in Turkey since the failed military coup attempt".

They said they remained "committed to keeping Turkey anchored to the EU" but added that parliament "calls on the Commission and the Member States, however, to initiate a temporary freeze of the ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey".

The vote is a fresh blow to relations with Turkey and the EU which have become fractured since the failed coup, threatening a key migration deal between Brussels and Ankara.

Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987 and accession talks did not begin until 2005, even though Ankara's aspirations to become part of the bloc date back to the 1960s.

The EU and Turkey had agreed to speed up membership talks after a deal was struck in March to curb migrant flows towards the European Union.

Brussels agreed to allow visa-free travel for Turks once it carried out key reforms and provide more aid to Turkey in exchange for Ankara cutting the number of refugees fleeing to the Greek islands.

A furious President Erdogan said before Thursday's vote: "I want to say in advance from here and address the whole world watching on their TV screens - this vote has no value at all, no matter what result emerges.

"It is not possible for me to even digest the message that they want to deliver."

He said the vote was an indicator of the fact that the EU took the side of "terror organisations" - meaning Kurdish groups the Turkish state is fighting.

Erdogan said there was a "lack of concrete support" from the EU and urged Islamic countries to join their forces to end the West's "double standards".

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Muslim Global: European Parliament votes to freeze talks on Turkey's membership
European Parliament votes to freeze talks on Turkey's membership
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