Turkey is elephant in the room for the West - analyst

Turkey has become the "elephant in the room" thanks to its battered relations with the West, a commentator on Turkish affairs Robert Ellis said the Jerusalem Post.

Ellis said the latest European Commission report on May 30, citing considerable backsliding in the rule of law and the judiciary, fundamental rights, economic institutions, anti-corruption measures, media freedom and other areas, showed that Turkey's EU accession process has come to a halt.

NATO, which Turkey joined in 1952, also promotes free institutions, conditions of stability and well-being in its charter, a path Turkey has walked away for a while since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gained sweeping new executive powers in 2018 elections.

"Since the establishment of an executive presidency last June, where parliament has been sidelined in favour of government by decree, Turkey – under President Tayyip Erdoğan – has followed a path of divergence from NATO and the EU norms," Ellis said.

Turkey has adopted domestic and foreign policies which have brought it "on a collision course with its Western allies", he said.

Erdoğan's domestic policies have turned Turkey's EU accession into a distant dream and narrowed the membership down to “broad strategic engagement”. Meanwhile, Ankara's imprisonment of U.S. citizens, its alliance with Russia in Syria and purchase of Russian S-400 missiles systems, which U.S. officials have repeatedly said is incompatible with NATO military systems, have crippled bilateral relations, Ellis said.