Vienna could veto talks over Turkey joining EU

Vienna could veto talks over Turkey joining EU
2 min read
11 December, 2016
Austria will vote to block Turkey from having any potential role in the EU, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told Spiegel Online on Saturday.
Sebastian Kurz said his country will vote to block Turkey from joining the EU [AFP]
Austria's foreign minister said his country will veto EU accession talks with Turkey because Ankara appears not to share EU values, citing human rights violations in the post-coup attempt crackdown.

Sebastian Kurz said his country will vote to block Turkey from having any potential role in the EU in an upcoming gathering of EU member states.

"The European Parliament has adopted a courageous and correct resolution demanding that the accession negotiations with Turkey be frozen," Kurz told Spiegel online on Saturday.

"In the conclusions of the foreign ministers, there must also be a reaction to developments in Turkey. We must also propose that the accession talks be frozen," he said.

Kurz added that ministers from the Netherlands and Bulgaria appear to share Austria's position on Turkey.

Last month, the EU froze accession talks with Ankara over alarm following Turkey's crackdown on dissent in the wake of the attempted putsch.

In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to throw Turkey's borders open for refugees to enter Europe if EU accession talks were suspended.

"I have always warned not to make us dependent [on Turkey]. We must protect our external borders and be able to decide who is allowed to immigrate to Europe and who is not," Kurz said.

Turkey's bid to join the EU dates back to the 1960s with formal talks starting in 2005.

But the process has been mired in problems, which current tensions have done nothing to help.

Rocky relations between Ankara and the EU were further strained in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey in July.

Since then, some 35,000 people have been arrested and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs – including military officers, judges, teachers, civil servants and journalists – in a sweeping crackdown against alleged supporters of those behind the coup.

More than 100 journalists have been arrested while 170 media outlets including newspapers and broadcasters have been shut down.