UK advises Erdogan to forget about imminent accession to EU

Any chance Turkey could join the EU by 2020, as Brexit campaigners have asserted, went up in smoke on Wednesday after the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a draconian new law.

The Guardian writes that the law demolishes any notion that Turkey is a fully functioning, western-style democracy.

The new measures make EU membership even more of a chimera. They are expected to eviscerate parliamentary opposition to Erdogan’s ruling neo-Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP) by allowing politically inspired, criminal prosecutions of anti-government MPs.

By signing the new law, Erdogan, who has dubbed the EU a 'Christian club', has signaled the end of any realistic chance of Turkey joining the union for the foreseeable future. Critics say he may also have sounded the death knell for Turkey’s secular democracy and set the stage for intensified armed conflict with Kurdish groups.

Erdogan’s latest actions place more pressure on the already shaky migrant deal. If it collapses – and Turkey is threatening to scrap it – the EU will have even less incentive to advance accession negotiations. Leading EU countries such as France and Germany strongly oppose Turkish membership and have in any case indicated they could ultimately use their veto, if necessary, to prevent it. 

Last month, UK Prime Minister David Cameron joked that Turkey's current progress toward accession meant it would not become a member until the year 3000.