European Parliament votes to block Turkey's attempts to join EU

Latest controversial comments by Recep Tayyip Erdogan come as Turkey and Israel strive to improve relations

The European Parliament's vote tomorrow on freezing the talks would be a first step, but economic sanctions against the government and not the population are also needed, " he said.

Earlier in the week, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that halting Turkey's accession process would be a "lose-lose" move.

The European Parliament adopted a temporary motion on Thursday, urging member-states to freeze Turkey's accession to the bloc.

"The best way to strengthening Turkey's democracy, the most effective way, is by engaging with Turkey, by keeping channels open", Mogherini told the EU Parliament. On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang welcomed the idea of Turkish membership; but, analysts warn that Ankara's bid would almost inevitably be incompatible with Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership aspirations. Relations were strained under President Barack Obama over Washington's support for Syrian Kurdish militia, which Turkey regards as terrorists, and Turkish perceptions that Washington is reluctant to extradite a cleric blamed by Ankara for the coup.

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EU Parliament wants to freeze Turkey membership talks
While many MEPs want Turkey's membership talks put on ice, top European Union diplomat Federica Mogherini has warned any end to the discussions would result in a " lose, lose " scenario.

In addition, she said, "it's clear that moving from rhetoric to action on the issue of the death penalty would be a clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family".

Analysts say the EU's indifference to Turkey reflects rising anti-Muslim sentiment and its unwillingness to deal with the refugees in the country.

"Turkey is an important partner of the European Union", the statement said.

European parties ranging from Christian Democrats to ex-communists have demanded the EU show Turkey a red card for arresting around 150 journalists, detaining more than 2,300 judges and prosecutors, and suspending or dismissing nearly 130,000 public employees in response to a failed coup in July against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, Mr Erdogan has suggested that rather than do so, in the light of the July coup he would consider asking parliament to bring back the death penalty - which would definitely rule out the possibility of European Union membership.