A new German report published on Monday by the Munich-based Osteuropa-Institut says it is "not very likely" that Ankara will meet the European Union’s democratic and human rights criteria before the end of this year.
Next December, the EU member states are set to decide whether accession negotiations with Turkey will be opened. The institute says that although "remarkable efforts" towards political reform have been made by Turkish governments in the last few years, reforms remain essentially bound to the formal legal sphere. The report points out that "Despite formal judicial progress, citizens’ rights are not yet fully guaranteed". Among other issues, the report mentions the practice of torture and the limited freedom of speech and religion as examples of continuing violation of human rights in the country. The Munich researchers conclude that Turkey will need "considerable time" to meet the EU’s political criteria. The study by the think-tank is set to be used by German and other opponents of the Turkish bid to enter the EU, as it also predicts that Turkish membership could cost the Union up to 14 billion euro a year. The report further predicts "considerable migration pressure" of Turks to Germany if Turkey joins the EU. The "migration potential" is estimated between 0.5 and 4.4 million people.