(Brussels) “Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union and accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill”. This is according to a press statement released today at the end of the 54th meeting of the “EU-Turkey Association Council”. The meeting in Brussels was chaired by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and was attended by Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Turkey. The EU is concerned over “the continuing and deeply worrying backsliding in the areas of fundamental rights and rule of law, and the deterioration of the independence and functioning of the judiciary”. The EU also “deplores” the “increasing pressure faced by civil society” and its “rapidly shrinking space”, notably in the face of “widespread arrests”, and “recurrent bans on demonstrations and other types of gatherings”. The EU called on Turkey to “urgently reverse all measures that have a negative impact” on these areas. The EU also expressed “grave concern” over Turkey’s intention to start “drilling activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone”. Another “crucial” sticking point is Ankara’s occupation of part of Cyprus. Of fundamental importance is “dialogue, cooperation and alignment” with Turkey “on foreign policy issues” since “Turkey has an important role and responsibility within the wider region”.