While the vote is advisory rather than binding, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is smarting from European criticism of its crackdown on opponents and on the news media after a failed coup attempt in July. So it has suggested that, in any event, it may pull out of the process altogether if there is no progress by the end of the year. Such progress now seems improbable.
Mr. Erdogan has also said that he would approve a restoration of the death penalty, which would almost certainly force an end to any talk of Turkey joining the bloc, since a ban on capital punishment is a condition of membership.
Many policy makers and analysts criticized the European Parliament’s expected move, saying it would only push Turkey to harden its position on issues like human rights and the death penalty, while endangering cooperation on limiting refugee flows to Europe.
Continue reading the main story
“It would be a strategic stupidity of the first order for the E.U. to unilaterally abandon its relationship with Turkey,” Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister, said in a Twitter post this week.
Nonetheless, at a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday night, it was clear that lawmakers from most of the main parties seemed likely to vote on Thursday to suspend accession talks.
Mr. Erdogan did not wait for the formality of the vote to react with bitterness. “The E.U. Parliament resorting to such a vote means it takes terror organizations under its wings, it takes sides with them,” he said on Wednesday, addressing an Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Istanbul.