European Union lawmakers have voted in favor of suspending membership talks with Turkey, in a move aimed at sending a signal to Ankara amid a sweeping internal crackdown.
The European Parliament approved a nonbinding resolution on November 24, asking the 28-nation EU "to initiate a temporary freeze" on talks with Ankara until "disproportionate measures under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted."
The vote carries no immediate consequences, but it underscores the increasing unease in Europe over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tightening grip on power in the wake of a failed coup attempt in July.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned that cutting off talks with the bloc would be far more damaging to Europe than Turkey.
"I accept that cutting off ties with Europe would harm Turkey, but it would damage Europe five to six times more," he said.
Turkey’s EU affairs minister said the vote breached basic European values, and that Ankara didn’t take the vote seriously.
Omer Celik said the European Parliament lost perspective when it came to Turkey and that it should watch its language when talking about Erdogan.
Anticipating the vote, Erdogan criticized EU member countries a day earlier, saying they hadn't kept their promises regarding Turkey's path to membership.
"Whatever the result, this vote has no value in our eyes," Erdogan said.
In the wake of the coup attempt, Erdogan declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on opposition groups, journalists, and civil-society organizations.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa