Juncker: Erdoğan wants EU to halt membership talks

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. AFP Photo

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants the EU to halt membership talks with his country.

Asking Europe not to end the talks, Juncker said the responsibility “is entirely on the Turkish side” even though Erdoğan is hoping “to make it the European Union’s responsibility, and not Turkey’s.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently said Turkey will never be a member of the European Union as long as it is governed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Accusing Turkey of not taking EU accession talks seriously, Gabriel said: “It is clear that in this state, Turkey will never become a member of the EU. It’s not because we don’t want them but because the Turkish government and Erdogan are quickly moving away from everything that Europe stands for.”

German Justice Minister Heiko Mass also called on the EU to engage in an intensive dialogue to deal with Turkey issuing arrest warrants for government critics.

Turkey has been criticized by EU members due to Erdoğan’s crackdown on opponents, including journalists and human rights defenders, in the wake of a botched coup attempt last year. Erdoğan increased his presidential powers after a referendum in April, claiming that it is necessary to protect Turkey’s security from its domestic and foreign enemies.

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