Turkey's human rights, economic management lie in tatters – former AKP deputy

Turkey's path towards European Union membership is unsustainable due to the steady deterioration of freedom and human rights in the country, Haluk Özdalga a former two term parliamentarian for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), told Ahval in a podcast.

Turkey’s membership of NATO also requires the protection of universal values, such as respect for human rights, the rule of law and other freedoms, Özdalga said, citing the statutes of the military alliance.

Turkey’s human rights situation is reflected in reports by international watchdog Freedom House, which has categorised the country as ‘not free’, putting it alongside the world’s least developed nations, Özdalga said. Freedom House published its annual report for 2021 last week.

The AKP has taken sides in various military conflicts based on ideological identification with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, leaving Turkey alienated from nearly all its neighbours, Özdalga said. The same is true for the economy, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's economic management is ideologically driven and has left the economy in tatters, he said.

No county can continue to be affiliated with the EU or NATO without democracy, freedom and respect for human rights, Özdalga said.