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'Draconian Law' Silences Turkey's Legislature, Kills EU Membership Hopes

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By signing a "draconian" new law that eliminates lawmakers' legal immunity, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot rely on his country's planned access to the EU by 2020, according to The Guardian.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) departs after the jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, for the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, the US, June 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The chances of Turkey joining the EU by 2020 "went up in smoke" earlier this week after the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inked a "draconian new law" scrapping legislators' immunity to legal charges, The Guardian's Simon Tisdall said.

In his article, titled "Erdogan's draconian new law demolishes Turkey's EU ambitions," Tisdall condemned the adoption of this law, which he claimed has destroyed any remaining illusions that Turkey is currently "a fully functioning, western-style democracy."

By signing the document, Erdogan, who called the EU a "Christian club," actually indicated that Turkey has missed its opportunity to enter the EU in the foreseeable future, according to the author.

"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," Tisdall said.

He recalled that Erdogan's introduction of the law came amid "heightened violence between Turkey’s security forces and militants belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its radical offshoots."

Separately, Tisdall referred to "the already shaking" migrant deal between Ankara and the EU, which he warned may affect Turkey's EU ambitions.

"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," he pointed out.

Last week, the Turkish parliament approved the scrapping of theirown immunity to legal prosecution via a secret ballot, allowing the bill to be implemented without need for a public referendum.

The law, which came amid repeated allegations of human right violations in Turkey, is ostensibly aimed against those Turkish lawmakers who support the Kurds and the PKK, which is seen by Erdogan's government as a terrorist organization.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony of Turkey's main private sector organisation, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), in Ankara, on May 10, 2016 - Sputnik International
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However, given that Turkish law prohibits dissent directed towards the country's president, it was seen by many as a move by the leader's party to stifle any voices of dissent amid ever-encroaching presidential authority. In the past, Turkey has cracked down on trivial violations of this law, including criminalizing the 'liking' and sharing of anti-Erdogan messages and memes via social networks.

In March, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory in exchange for sending Syrian refugees who were accommodated legally in Turkey. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime.

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