Leading European Union lawmakers on Wednesday called for a formal halt to Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership talks, citing President Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to assume greater powers after a referendum this month backed a constitutional overhaul.
German Manfred Weber, head of the biggest faction in the EU legislature, the centre-right European People’s Party, told European Parliament’s hemicycle that full membership for Turkey was no longer realistic.
Other lawmakers said Brussels could instead open talks on a looser kind of relationship known as an “association agreement”, or strengthen the customs union Turkey already has with the EU.
Ties between EU states and Turkey, a NATO ally, have soured amid human rights concerns following Erdogan’s sweeping crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup last July. Tens of thousands of people, including soldiers, judges, teachers and civil servants, have been arrested or sacked.
The EU executive has asked Europe’s foreign ministers to consider other types of ties with Turkey when they meet on Friday.
Movie director Jonathan Demme, best known for “The Silence of the Lambs” has died at the age of 73, his publicist said on Wednesday.
Demme, who also directed the Oscar winning film “Philadelphia,” was suffering from esophageal cancer, publicist Annalee Paulo said in a statement. She said he died in New York on Wednesday morning surrounded by his family.
“Jonathan passed away early on Wednesday morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children. He died from complications from esophageal cancer,”Paulo said.
Demme’s most recent film was the 2015 comedy “Ricki and the Flash,” starring Meryl Streep as an ageing rocker.
New York-born Demme won the directing Oscar for the 1991 thriller “The Silence of the Lambs”, which also won Oscars for best picture and for its stars Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Demme’s work was wide ranging, including comedy and thrillers to groundbreaking fare like 1993 film “Philadelphia,” which was one of the first mainstream Hollywood movies to tackle the AIDS crisis. The movie brought an Oscar for Tom Hanks.
He also directed concert and music documentaries for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney and Neil Young, the Talking Heads, and more recently, “Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.”
Other notable films include the 2008 independent drama “Rachel Getting Married,” “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004) and 1988 comedy “Married to the Mob.”
Paulo said the funeral for Demme would be private and that in lieu of flowers the family had asked that donations be made to the group Americans For Immigrant Justice, in Miami, Florida.
The arraignment of six persons for their alleged roles in the May 8 clash in Ile Ife was on Wednesday stalled for the second time this week.
The arraignment of the suspects had earlier been stalled on Monday as the judge before who they were to be arraigned reportedly did not give her consent to hearing the case.
The counsel to the defendants said the arraignment was stalled again on Wednesday due to procedural error by the prosecution.
He said the accused had yet to be served notice of the offence they were being charged with, describing it as a delay tactic to deny them of swift justice.
The lawyers said, “What happened is the problem of the prosecution and not our problem because here there is procedural way of doing things; you must follow the procedure, but they have not followed due process.”
The prosecuting counsel, Samuel Lough, however, said all the necessary arrangements have been made for the arraignment of the suspects.
“The court said they will give us a new date, so we are waiting for the court to do so,” he said.