The downgrade comes just a week after Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Johannes Hahn, commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, visited Ankara to discuss the country’s proposed membership.
Relations between Brussels club and Ankara had soured since the attempted overthrow of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government and the country’s stubborn refusal to back down on its anti-terror laws.
But it now appears the EU, which depends on Ankara to keep a lid on the movement of migrants to in and out of the bloc, is seeking to ease tensions and forge closer ties, regardless of the cost.
The EU, often critical of Turkey’s track record on human rights and rule of law, claimed to be outraged when Ankara dismissed 80,000 people from public duty and arrested many of them over alleged sympathies with the plotters of the military coup. But it has since softened its stance.