Jean-Claude Juncker rejects push to freeze EU-Turkey talks

Austria chancellor Christian Kern suggests talks with Turkey on joining EU should end

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in remarks published yesterday that it would be counterproductive to freeze accession talks with Turkey, rejecting a push by Austria to halt membership talks.

Juncker told German broadcaster ARD that Turkey is unfit to become a member of the EU, in comments that could further strain relations between Ankara and the bloc it is seeking to join.

"Turkey, in the state it is currently in, cannot become a member of the European Union, " Juncker told ARD in Brussels. "And certainly not if it reintroduces the death penalty as some are demanding."

Turkey's EU affairs minister said that comments by Austria's chancellor Christian Kern, suggesting talks with Turkey on joining the EU should be ended, came disturbingly close to the rhetoric of the far right.


Far right

“It’s disturbing that his statements are similar to those of the far right . . . Criticism is surely a democratic right but there has to be a difference between criticising Turkey and being against Turkey,”

Omer Celik

told reporters in Ankara.

Mr Kern said on Wednesday that he would start a discussion among European leaders to quit talks with Turkey about joining the EU.

– (Reuters)