EU calls on Turkey to step up reforms after Erdogan claims victory in local elections

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The European Union has called on Turkey to step up reforms on democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression, after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan declared victory in local polls on Sunday.

The election was seen by many as a popularity test for the country’s Prime Minister, who lost support after a crackdown on anti-government protesters last June, hampering EU-Turkish accession talks.

“The Commission have been following the elections and are looking forward to complete official results of this elections. Following the overall worrying development that took place over the last 3 months, Turkey as a candidate country needs to move forward in the accession negotiations and the work that it’s needed in this respect, as well as the work that needs to be done in the European agenda, which means engage fully with the reforms in line with European standards when it comes to rule of law and fundamental rights”, said European Commission’s spokesperson Maja Kocijancic.

Earlier this month, EU leaders slammed the Turkish government for banning Twitter. Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said the ban ‘casts doubts’ on Turkey’s commitment to European values.

The EU opened accession talks with Turkey in 2005, but issues such as the country’s freedom of expression or its relations with Cyprus are holding up Ankara’s progress towards Europe.

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