Step to Freeze Talks on Ankara’s EU Accession Lacks Vision - Turkish Minister

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The decision of the European Parliament to freeze negotiations on Turkey's accession to the European Union is "visionless," since the country is engaged in a major fight against terrorism and needs support, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the European lawmakers voted in favor of freezing European Union accession talks with Turkey until it lifts restrictive measures in place since the failed July coup.

“It is easy to talk like this in places where terror has not stepped. At a time when Turkey, which has a 1,295-kilometer border with Syria and Iraq, is involved in a heightened fight against terror, there are visionless and imprudent debates going on in Europe, instead of showing solidarity,” Celik said, as quoted by the Hurriet Daily News newspaper.

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On November 4, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the European Union was "gravely concerned" by the crackdown in Turkey after July coup attempt. European politicians are dissatisfied with renewed attempts to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey, as well as by closures of media outlets, arrests of journalists and Kurdish opposition leaders that have shaken the country after a military faction made an unsuccessful bid to overthrow the Turkish government in July.

Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005. The negotiations on Turkish EU membership have been repeatedly suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying press freedom, among other obstacles.

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