MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkey has been taking steps that distance Ankara from the European Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.
"For some considerable time, Turkey has been moving away from the European Union in leaps and bounds… Europe is a continent of mature democracies, 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 the accession negotiations," Juncker said in his annual State of the Union address in the European Parliament.
Relations between Brussels and Ankara became strained after Turkey’s crackdown on opposition journalists, as well as public servants and judges, in the wake of the July 2016 coup attempt which prompted EU disapproval in the form of its suspension of accession talks.
The already strained relations have been further damanged as a result of the statements made by main German chancellor candidates Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz during debates held earlier this month, who voiced opposition to Turkey's membership in the EU. The Turkish president compared the "anti-Turkish" to "Nazism." Moreover, he accused the leaders of the EU countries of failing to keep their promises to Ankara on the abolition of the bloc's visa regime for Turkish nationals and the provision of financial assistance for the reception of refugees by Turkey.
Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963 and submitted a membership application in 1987.