An extensive 100-page report by the European body has found a number of problem areas, including the legal situation in the country which it describes as being of “grave concern”.
The worsening relationship may spell an end for the flagging Turkey-EU migrant deal, seen in Brussels as crucial to trying to resolve the refugee crisis.
After the failed military coup on July 15 the country’s president Recep Tayipp Erdogan initiated a number of legal measures that the EC which the 100-page report describes as being “not in line with European standards” and added that the arrests of several politicians in November were “a matter of grave concern”.
Over the issue of the Kurdish question in the south-east of the country and the on-going activities of the separatist group the PKK, the Commission Staff Working Document highlighted “serious allegations of human rights violations” as well as “disproportionate use of force” by the security services.
In a number of areas, such as freedom of expression and public administration, the commission said that there had been “backsliding” by Turkey, rather than progress.
It stated that “selective and arbitrary” application of the law in the fight for national security and against terrorism, had had “a negative impact on freedom of expression”.
In addition, the arrests of numerous journalists and the closure of a number of media outlets after the attempted coup were of “serious concern”.
More than 190 publications were closed down in the coup’s aftermath and nearly 100 journalists were arrested, while 2,500 lost their jobs.
The report also criticised Mr Erdogan’s administration for some of its economic policies, pointing to the country’s large national debt as well as its central bank base rate cut while still managing a worrying level of inflation.
It also added that structural reforms to streamline the economy had “stalled”.
It concluded: “Overall, there was backsliding”.
However, the report did say that the country had a “good love” of preparation in “achieving the capacity to cope with the competitive pressure and market forces within the EU”.
It also praised the country for its advancements in the areas of company law, “trans-European networks” and science and research.
Advancements, the report found, were made in the areas of intellectual property law, financial services, enterprise and industrial policy as well as consumer and health protection.
There appears to be little progress made since the same report last years which also highlighted a number of problematic areas, including the country’s human rights record, limits to freedom of expression and the state of its bureaucratic administration.