Kurz ‘will block’ Turkey’s EU membership talks

Austria wants the European Union to freeze membership talks with Turkey over Ankara’s massive crackdown following the failed coup.

Kurz 'will block' Turkey's EU membership talks
Sebastian Kurz. File photo: BMEIA

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Monday that the EU “must at least freeze the accession negotiations”, adding that “it is wrong to continue accession negotiations as if nothing negative has happened in Turkey in the last few months”.

However, few EU states support Austria’s stance. Slovakia, which holds the rotating EU presidency has said negotiations should continue. Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak admitted that discussions with Turkey “would not be easy” but said that Turkey is an important partner for the EU.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also spoken in favour of negotiations continuing, saying that for the sake of the Turkish people their country should not be shut out. 

On Thursday, EU leaders will discuss the bloc’s deal with Turkey to stop tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open border gates after the European Parliament called last month for a freeze on membership talks.

Turkish authorities have arrested almost 38,000 people and purged more than 100,000 others from government jobs since the failed coup on July 15th.