The delay in the release of the report has come ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Brussels. Erdoğan is set to have bilateral meetings with European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker before a dinner with EU leaders. His visit is expected to be dominated by the meetings, which will address the Syrian refugee crisis.
EU sources told Today's Zaman that EU members decided to delay the publishing of the report until Oct. 21, regarding the second summit on the refugee crisis that will be held on Oct.13. High expectations regarding Ankara's role in a solution to the refugee crisis reportedly contributed significantly to the delay of the report, which is expected to heavily criticize the Turkish government.
Divided by recently imposed national quotas for the placement of more than 100,000 refugees, leaders of EU member states are desperately seeking a lasting solution and consider offering large sums of money to countries bordering Syria in an effort to persuade them to host even more refugees.
This year's report will contain strong criticism of Erdoğan's crackdown on political opponents and media freedom, EU sources told Today's Zaman. Observers have speculated that the report will also dwell on the recent attacks on the mainstream Hürriyet daily, attempts to silence media outlets critical of the government by bringing journalists and reporters to trial, the failed Kurdish settlement process -- a political initiative designed to end the armed conflict between the Turkish government and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- and the collapse of judicial independence.