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Austrian and German Ministers Disagree on Prospect of Turkey's EU Accession

© AP Photo / Michael SohnGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, address the media during a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, address the media during a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. - Sputnik International
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Turkey’s attempt to join the European Union (EU) has long been opposed by a number of member states, and the Turkish government’s plans for accession to the union took a hit after Turkish authorities responded to a failed coup in 2016 by dismissing thousands of civil servants, military personnel and judges.

German EU Minister Michael Roth said on Tuesday the EU shouldn’t halt talks with Ankara “despite a lack of progress” and concerns about “the rule of law in the country.”

“It is in the hands of those responsible in Turkey to decide whether they want to be a member of this European community of values. I would suggest we do not slam the door shut. That would be a wrong signal towards those in Turkey who still long for European values,” Minister Michael Roth said on April 17 prior to a meeting with other EU ministers in Luxembourg.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roth’s Austrian counterpart – who is a member of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) – disagreed with him and said Turkey shouldn’t be allowed to join the union.

“We don’t believe Turkey should become a part of the European Union,” Austrian EU Minister Gernot Bluemel insisted.

Mr. Bluemel seemingly opposes Ankara’s accession to the EU due to concerns about human rights abuses by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and his efforts to push Turkey towards an autocracy.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Not Allowing Turkey to Join EU Would Be a 'Big Mistake'

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz - Sputnik International
Austrian Chancellor Urges to Stop Talks on Turkey's EU Accession
Despite the Austrian minister’s stance, talks are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as Erdogan’s government has played a key role in stemming the flow of migrants, particularly from Syria, into Europe.

Austria led the calls to suspend accession negotiations with Turkey after the attempted coup in 2016 and the subsequent purge and crackdown on suspected opposition supporters.

Other EU member states have also expressed concerns about Turkey’s compatibility with the union due to its differing values, but several members still believe the bloc should maintain a dialogue with Ankara to facilitate cooperation in areas which are of strategic interest to the EU.

READ MORE: European States Unwilling to Pay for EU-Turkey Deal — Report

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