EU seeks to maintain dialogue with Turkey

EU seeks to maintain dialogue with Turkey

 German calls for an end to Turkish accession talks fell on deaf ears on Friday as Foreign Ministers from the European Union stressed the need for dialogue.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as her main rival Martin Schulz had called for an end to Turkey’s EU membership negotiations during a TV debate.

But at a two-day meeting of foreign ministers in Estonia, the country which currently holds the EU presidency made it clear that the formal end to accession talks, which would require unanimity among EU member states, is not an option.

“The Turks have been going through a very difficult time,’’ British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, adding that all EU countries were seriously concerned about the human rights situation in the country.

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“We should not push Turkey away, it’s a strategically important country for us,’’ Johnson said.

Johnson’s views were echoed by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who stressed the need for dialogue and maintaining “the prospect of a future Turkish accession.’’

“Obviously things changed a lot in Turkey in the last 12 months, and we shouldn’t pretend that it didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to reach out,’’ Coveney said.

Ministers are also discussing whether the bloc should toughen the sanctions regime against North Korea. (dpa/NAN)

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