STRASBOURG, France (Kurdistan24) - The European Parliament on Thursday voted to suspend Turkey accession talks if Ankara further expands Presidents' power.
The parliament passed a resolution which "calls on the Commission and the member states... to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged."
EU leaders were critical of President Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on dissent and minorities before the butchered coup attempt, a criticism that sharply increased after he declared a state of emergency last July.
Turkey continues to dismiss criticism as flawed and wrong and denounced EU's resolution.
Ankara has been in pursuit of EU membership for a decade. EU has little influence over the discussion which is currently in limbo after Ankara and some European countries had heated debates.
However, EU's decision highlights the escalating tension between Turkey and European countries.
Turkey's Western allies are concerned about Erdogan's sweeping power gained after a tightly fought April referendum. They have also been protesting the year-long crackdown on civilians.
Turkey argues that such measures are needed to maintain its national security.
"The current strategy of the European Commission and EU leaders seems to wait silently for things to improve in Turkey," said the European Parliament's lead negotiator on Turkey, Kati Piri, criticizing a stance which she said was "feeding President Erdogan’s authoritarianism."
Erdogan has already applied some of the constitutional changes after the April referendum. He has returned to leading his AKP party and has changed members of a top judicial body.
The role of prime minister is to be scrapped in two years.
Opposition and human right groups warn that these changes lead Turkey to authoritarianism.
Turkish police on Wednesday detained twelve human rights activists, including Director of Amnesty International (AI) in Turkey, Idil Eser, in Istanbul's Buyukada island where they were holding a meeting.
One German and one Swedish national, as well as the owner of the hotel, were detained.
There was no official explanation for the arrests, but pro-government Sabah newspaper described the raid as "a hunt for spies."
Amnesty International said the meeting was "a routine" training event, adding that the whereabouts of Eser and others detained alongside her remain unknown.
“We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey, should have been detained so blatantly without cause," the organization said on its website.
The detainees were held incommunicado and denied any communication with their lawyers and families for 24 hours according to laws which grant the judiciary and police forces extraordinary powers.
"This is a grotesque abuse of power and highlights the precarious situation facing human rights activists in the country," the statement read.
Despite their concerns over Turkey, EU leaders do not want to undermine an agreement struck last year whereby Ankara effectively stopped migrants reaching Greece from Turkish shores, hence easing a crisis that had threatened EU unity.