Turkey cannot become an EU member, says top EPP candidate

The European People’s Party (EPP) lead candidate in May European elections Manfred Weber said Turkey could not become a member of the European Union and he would end the country’s accession talks if he became European Commission president, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Membership in the 28-member bloc remains one of Turkey’s top strategic goals despite the fact that accession talks, formally launched in 2004, have been stalled for years.

"If I become commission president, then I will instruct the offices in Brussels to end the talks with Turkey on accession to the European Union," Weber, a member of Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), said. "Turkey cannot become a member of the European Union, let's make that clear."

The EPP is a coalition of conservative parties in the European Parliament.

Both France and Germany have recently voiced strong opposition to Turkey's bid to join the EU.

The European Commission’s annual report published in April of last year gave Turkey a scathing review, concluding that the rule of law, democracy, and human rights in Turkey had continued to backslide.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in October said he would consider putting Turkey's EU bid to a referendum while stressing that the bloc is prejudice against Muslims.