The Turkish government sent a clear message this week: don't ever talk about the Turkish government. Journalist Can Dündar petitioned the Turkish High Court to appeal a sentence of five years and ten months in prison that he had received from a lower court. He and fellow journalist Erdem Gul had been prosecuted in 2016 for publishing a video that allegedly showed evidence that Turkey's national security agency was importing weapons to Syria; the charge was disclosing confidential information.

In a surprise move that has sparked yet more criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan's regime, the court decided this week that while there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute Gul, Dündar should actually be prosecuted for espionage—a charge that would put him behind bars for 15-20 years.

And this Friday, the erdogan regime sentenced a total of 24 journalists to jail, claiming they had terrorist ties.

Here is a video from the journalists' arrest last year:

Dündar and the regime

Dündar has become a symbol of the crackdown on free speech that characterizes President Erdogan's regime following a failed coup in 2016. Last month, six journalists were sentenced to life in prison under charges that they somehow tried to abet the failed coup.

Meanwhile, Turkey has been bristling at US attempts to work with the Kurds in Syria, even going so far as to threaten a Kurdish genocide this January and attack the Kurds the US was trying to settle on the Turkish border. Technically, the US is allied with Turkey and also works with the Kurds against ISIS, but Erdogan considers the Kurds to be terrorists, and believes the US is stabbing him in the back by cooperating with them.

Will Turkey ever join the EU?

The crackdown on journalists is another nail in the coffin for Turkey's abortive candidacy for EU membership. For years, there was talk of Turkey joining the European Union, but the EU has a number of requirements for prospective member states, including a basic respect for human rights. Human rights concerns obviously preclude jailing journalists for decades for criticizing the government, but Erdogan seems to be unconcerned.

From inciting Turkish immigrants to Western European countries to riot on his behalf, to threatening to release millions of Middle Eastern migrants into Europe if the the EU didn't accede to a list of demands, Erdogan has appeared to be far more interested in consolidating his power and threatening other world leaders than in getting his country into the European superstate. With Britain trying to Brexit and Turkey displaying very little will to get in, the EU's momentum seems to be less than stellar at the moment.