Posted : April 29, 2017
European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said on April 28 that accession talks with Turkey have not been halted and she still wants it to join, if Ankara can meet necessary conditions.
Her remarks, following a EU foreign ministers meeting in Valletta, came after recent calls from some countries that negotiations over Turkey’s potential membership of the bloc should be stopped.
Germany urged its EU peers not to end accession talks, saying the country is key to European interests, not least as a NATO ally.
After a “very frank and open” meeting with the foreign ministers, Mogherini said she was “happy to have (Turkey) in but a level of clarification” was needed from Ankara.
“The accession process continues, it is not suspended, not ended (although) we are currently not working on any new chapters,” she told reporters.
“The criteria are very clear, well known and if Turkey is interested in joining, as the foreign minister told us today, … it knows very well what that implies, especially in the field of human rights, rule of law, democracy and freedoms,” she said.
Mogherini, who said the EU respected the outcome of the vote, was due to meet Turkish Foreign Minister MevlütÇavuşoğlu later on April 28.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said earlier that his government was “strictly against breaking off the accession talks…. It would be the completely wrong reaction.”
“In NATO, we did not even exclude Turkey even during the times of military dictatorship (there). Why should we now have an interest in pushing it in the direction of Russia?” he said.
But Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz repeated his call for talks to be halted and told his EU colleagues to make their minds up.
“I consider it completely wrong if we hold up this fiction of an accession (to the EU) as Turkey moves away even further from Europe every year,” Kurz said.
“We need, finally, a clear decision.”