Czech ForMin: EU-Turkey dialogue must continue


Brussels, Nov 14 (CTK) – European countries agree that the dialogue between the European Union and Ankara must continue despite the current complicated situation in Turkey, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters during a meeting of the EU countries’ foreign ministers on Monday.

In the past few weeks, the EU has sharply criticised the developments in Turkey after the failed attempt at a military coup in the summer, which stirred up persecutions. Dismissals continue, some media are being closed and both journalists and opposition politicians arrested.

Most recently, the EU clearly rejected these steps in its regular report on Turkey’s progress in the accession talks with Brussels last week.

Zaoralek said the EU was deeply concerned about the latest events in Turkey.

“At the same time, it is still true that we want the communication channels to remain open. Though the dialogue has its limits,” Zaoralek said.

The EU countries agree that such a limit might be a possible introduction of capital punishment, which Ankara is considering, he added.

The EU and Turkey have been negotiating for years about the country’s EU accession. The talks were revived after Turkey succeeded in signing an agreement on considerably restricting the migrants’ flow through its territory to Greece and further to Europe. However, the July failed coup in Turkey and the subsequent wave of repressions complicated the situation again.

“But Turkey realises that the EU is an important partner for it when it comes both to the economy and the tackling of migration issues. Consequently, there is no effort to interrupt the contacts or torpedo them,” Zaoralek said.

He said he considered the current events “a dangerous political game” that is unpleasant, but it does not mean a fundamental twist in the course of Turkish politics. This is why some emotional statements should not cause the interruption of communication, he added.

Zaoralek said he considered the EU accession talks a significant tool for the EU to exert pressure on Ankara. If Turkey is striving for EU membership, it must also respect certain rules, he added.

However he, at the same time, admitted that Turkey’s EU membership is slightly a “chimera” under current circumstances and it would be “a long-term process.”

Turkey is aware of that it has not met the European conditions of visa liberalisation that Ankara has repeatedly demanded for its citizens, Zaoralek said.