By Gabriela Baczynska and Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union voiced grave concern about Turkey's crackdown on opponents since a failed July coup in a highly critical report on Wednesday that made clear that Ankara's prospects of joining the bloc have become ever more distant. Turkey has rolled back the independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and other fundamental democratic standards since the coup attempt, the EU said in its most hard-hitting annual report on the country's long-running membership bid. "The coup attempt of July 15 was an attack on democracy per se. Given the seriousness of the situation, a swift reaction to the threat was legitimate," the EU's top enlargement official, Johannes Hahn, said. "However, the large scale and collective nature of measures taken over the last months raise very serious concerns. "Turkey as a candidate country must fulfill the highest standards in the field of the rule of law and fundamental rights. In this year's report we therefore stress Turkey's backsliding in the area of rule of law and fundamental rights." The report risks further damaging the EU's relations with a country it is relying on to restrict the flow of migrants and refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Turkey's minister for EU Affairs dismissed the report as "far from constructive" and said that parts of it lacked objectivity. "The report does not serve to benefit EU-Turkey ties," Omer Celik told a news conference in Ankara, adding the bloc now lacks the vision of its founders. "Stronger bridges need to be built between the EU and Turkey." Earlier, President Tayyip Erdogan showed his frustration with the long stalemate over membership, saying the EU should take its final decision on Turkey's application quickly. "Reassess it, but do not delay in reassessing it. Make your final decision," Erdogan said in a televised speech. "SERIOUS QUESTIONS" The post-coup crackdown, which has seen more than 110,000 soldiers, judges, teachers, journalists and others detained, dismissed or suspended, has shocked the EU as it tries to work with Ankara on migration and countering terrorism. The EU has stepped up its criticism of Ankara since its arrest of prominent Kurdish lawmakers last week, and it said it would be Erdogan's fault if Turkey failed to meet criteria for a promised removal of visa requirements for visiting Europe. The report said Turkey's anti-terror laws were being applied too broadly. "The measures taken since July... raise a number of very serious questions going to the heart of the rule of law," Hahn said. "These various actions, including considerations on reintroducing the death penalty, seem to be increasingly incompatible with Turkey's official desire to become a member of the EU. It's time Ankara tells us what they really want." However, Celik said the report's criticisms on Turkey's judiciary and basic rights was "far from objective". He also rejected that Turkey used disproportionate force in the crackdown following the July 15 coup. In a separate interview with Reuters, Hahn said Turkey's EU candidacy was hanging in the balance. Luxembourg and Austria, as well as some European lawmakers called on the bloc to halt membership talks with Turkey or punish it with other sanctions. But Germany, the bloc's top power, opposes sanctions now and Chancellor Angela Merkel was a key driving force behind a March migration deal with Ankara that cut arrivals of refugees and migrants to Europe via Greece to a trickle after a mass and uncontrolled influx last year. (Additional reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Ece Toksabay in Ankara; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
Chris Christie's niece bit and kicked deputies trying to escort her off a Spirit Airlines flight after she asked passengers who she thought were Latino if they were 'smuggling cocaine,' report says
Shannon Epstein reportedly yelled that the deputies who arrested her would get in trouble because of her uncle's connection to former President Donald Trump.
Incoming House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries says there's 'a real risk' that the new GOP majority in the chamber will be 'hijacked by the extremists'
"They have not articulated a vision for addressing the economic concerns of the American people," Jeffries said of House Republicans to CNN.
- The Tuscaloosa News
Here's what Alabama football coach Nick Saban about his team missing the College Football Playoff and possible opt-outs for what will be Sugar Bowl.
- Sacramento Bee
“I heard her screaming and crying and I thought she fell down and I saw the coyote was there.”
- The Hill
Former President Trump called for the termination of the Constitution’s rules regarding elections to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election following the release of more detailed information about Twitter’s role in suppressing a story about Hunter Biden. “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations,…
White supremacist Nick Fuentes slams 'divorced woman girlboss' Marjorie Taylor Greene as the far-right figures turn on each other, videos show
White nationalist Nick Fuentes described Marjorie Taylor Greene as "weak" and attention-seeking after she denounced his virulently antisemitic views.
- Nittany Lions Wire
With two teams in the College Football Playoff, the Big Ten is set to leave one bowl spot vacant
Michael Steele warned about what could come next from the far-right Georgia Republican.
- ABC News
Republican Ohio Rep. Dave Joyce said Sunday that he didn't want to be drawn into commenting on Donald Trump's recent call to suspend the Constitution over baseless claims of 2020 election fraud. Joyce, the chair of the Republican Governance Group, a centrist group in the House, was asked by ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos to respond to Trump's post on Saturday on his Truth Social platform. Joyce initially declined to respond, saying he didn't know what Trump said on social media and that the public wasn't "interested in looking backwards."
Amal Clooney attended the Artist's Dinner honoring recipients of the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors with her husband George Clooney on Saturday.
Baby, it may be cold outside, and summer is but a distant memory, but that’s not stopping Carmen Electra from majorly turning up the heat in this super-sexy, showstopping campaign. On Dec 3, the Baywatch alum shared a steamy snapshot from her latest, holiday-themed campaign with Alexander Wang, a designer she’s worked with multiple times […]
- College Football News
Bowl Projections and College Football Playoff predictions: the final call before Sunday
- Good Housekeeping
Kate Middleton and Prince William's friends are apparently "sickened" by their Inclusion in the 'Harry & Meghan' docuseries trailer—more details this way.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! People are decking their homes in lights, visiting with their families, grabbing mugs of peppermint drinks and gathering around the TV to watch...monster movies? That's apparently the case with Netflix subscribers, because a new film, titled Troll, just made its way to the top of the site's most-watched movies list, only 48 hours after it premiered. Troll is a supernatural drama about an ancient troll who gets awakened by an explosion on a Norwegian moun
- The Clarion Ledger
Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders is reportedly expected to take the Colorado job at some point after the Tigers' SWAC Championship Game on Saturday, according to multiple reports.
- USA TODAY Sports
College football's postseason will span three weeks and 42 games, culminating in the Jan. 9 title game. A look at the entire schedule.
- Wolverines Wire
Let's do this! #GoBlue
- The Hill
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he supports House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to be the next Speaker and said calls by far-right Republicans to include a motion to vacate the chair in next Congress’s set of House rules were a “stupid idea.” Joyce told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC that…
- Touchdown Wire
The Kansas State Wildcats beat the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big 12 championship game, but they had unfortunate help from the refs.
WWE star Hulk Hogan shared a photo of his weight loss transformation on Facebook, in which the wrestler said he was down to 275 pounds, his "9th grade weight."