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    A woman adjusts the Turkish flag next to the European Union flag before the arrival of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels January 15, 2015.

    EU Parliament Urges Suspension of Talks on Turkey’s Accession

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    The EU Parliament calls for the formal suspension of the accession talks with Turkey due to Ankara pursues the constitutional changes stipulated in April's government-backed referendum.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik)  — The EU Parliament on Tuesday urged the European Commission and all EU member states to suspend their talks on Turkey’s accession to the bloc in the event Ankara pursues the constitutional changes stipulated in April's government-backed referendum.

    Relations between Ankara and Brussels significantly have deteriorated over the recent months. This is, in part, due to the the European Union's concern over the outcome of Turkey's referendum, which granted the sitting Turkish president more powers, as well as with Ankara's suggestion on reintroducing the death penalty. In May, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that if Turkey reintroduced capital punishment, it would mean the end of the country’s talks on the accession.

    “As the proposed constitutional reform package is not in line with EU membership criteria, the report calls for the formal suspension of the accession talks if the constitutional amendments are implemented as is. We expect the government to take the Venice Commission recommendations seriously, as well as the fact that half of the Turkish population voted against it in the referendum,” EU Parliament’s Rapporteur Kati Piri said, as quoted in a statement by the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.

    In the annual assessment of Turkey’s reform progress in 2016, the EU legislature expressed solidarity with Ankara because of the string of significant difficulties the country faced last year. Specially, the EU Parliament named the failed coup attempt, terrorist attacks, the Syrian War and the related influx of refugees as obstacles.

    Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005, but the negotiations have been repeatedly suspended over the years due to various obstacles.

    Earlier in the month, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Ankara is willing to pursue talks with the European Union on receiving full EU membership and renew the Customs Union agreement.

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