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.
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.