TURKEY

Turkey rejects 'worthless' EP report, says justice min.

TURKEY REJECTS WORTHLESS EP REPORT, SAYS JUSTICE MIN.

Bekir Bozdag describes as 'defamation' Turkey report endorsed by European Parliament lawmakers

Turkey's justice minister has described as "worthless" a report into the country approved by the European Parliament on Thursday.

EU lawmakers approved a 2016 Commission Report on Turkey, voting 477 to 64 in favor, which called on EU member states to suspend Turkey's long-running accession talks if constitutional changes endorsed in an April 16 referendum go ahead "unchanged".

"This report is a worthless report that we do not have any respect for. Turkey will not take into account this report and its defamation," Bekir Bozdag told reporters in Turkey's central Yozgat province.

Speaking after Thursday's vote, Turkish EU Minister Omer Celik told reporters in Ankara the parliament had "no right to make such a call" and demanded that lawmakers "respect the will of the Turkish people".

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also described the report as "null and void."

He said Turkey cared about the decisions made by EU leaders not those made by lawmakers, adding: "What we care about is the opinions of the leaders of the European Union, opinions of the European Union's top administration."

Turkey's main opposition party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on Friday called for EU-membership talks to be maintained.

Thursday's vote was non-binding in terms of EU decision making as the approved version of the report will be sent back to the European Commission to agree on the changes made by the parliament.

EU accession talks began in 2005. To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

Negotiations, however, hit a stalemate in 2007 because of Turkey's position on the Cyprus issue. German and French governments have also opposed the country's full EU membership.

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