BRUSSELS — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Turkey “is taking giant steps away from Europe” and believes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants the EU to halt membership talks with his country.

Juncker said Tuesday that he thinks Erdogan hopes Europe will stop negotiations “to make it the European Union’s responsibility, and not Turkey’s.”

Turkey began EU membership talks 12 years ago, but the negotiations are at a standstill despite EU promises to speed them up if Ankara stops migrants leaving for Europe.

Erdogan’s crack-down since the aborted military coup last year has raised fears about his commitment to EU values like human rights and the rule of law.

Juncker urged the Europeans not to halt the talks, saying that responsibility for any breakdown “is entirely on the Turkish side.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.