A+ A-

Mogherini: EU-Turkey ties reach crucial point

BRUSSELS, Nov 22 (KUNA) -- EU High Representative Federica Mogherini warned Tuesday that if EU membership talks with Turkey is stopped both sides will lose.
"Our relations with Turkey have reached a crucial point. I believe the best way to strengthen Turkish democracy, the most effective way, is by engaging with Turkey, by keeping channels open," she told a debate on Turkey in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, this evening.
"If the accession process came to an end, I believe we would, both, find ourselves in a lose-lose scenario. Europe would lose an important channel for dialogue and leverage with Turkey. Turkey would lose a lot. And we would all lose an opportunity for greater friendship and cooperation among our peoples," she said.
However, a majority of political group leaders and MEPs called on the EU Commission and EU member states to impose a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey.
MEPs condemned what they said were "disproportionately repressive measures taken in Turkey" since the failed military take-over in July.
Manfred Weber, leader of the European Peoples' Party, the largest political group in the EP, said "we cannot simply have business as usual. And for that reason my group supports the demand to freeze accession negotiations at the moment." Gianni Pittella, leader of the Socialist group, the second-largest in the EP, said "even a group like the Socialists group which has always been and is still very much in favour of Turkish accession, we are in favour of freezing accession talks." The EP will vote on a resolution on relations with Turkey on Thursday.
EU accession negotiations with Turkey started in October 2005. Out of 35 chapters or policy areas needed to complete the accession process, 16 have been opened and only one has been closed till now. (end) nk.bs