Turkey has been candidate for EU membership since 1999. Accession negotiations started in 2005. In recent years the EU is often criticizing the backsliding of the country in certain areas. As a major emerging economy and a member of NATO and G20, Turkey is recognised as an active regional foreign policy player, with a strategic location, including for the EU's energy security. Turkey is a key strategic partner of the EU on issues such as migration, security, counter-terrorism, and the economy, but according to the EU has been backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. In recent report adopted by the European Parliament in May 2021, MEPs say, that EU-Turkey relations have deteriorated to such an extent that the EU needs to profoundly reassess them. “In recent years, the Government of Turkey has distanced itself increasingly from EU values and standards. As a result, relations have been brought to a historic low point,” warned MEPs, who were particularly concerned about the state of the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights. In the report, they insisted that if Turkey did not reverse this current negative trend, the Commission should recommend that the accession negotiations be formally suspended. MEPs called on Turkey’s relevant authorities to release all imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, academics and others who have been detained by the government on unsubstantiated charges.