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ForMin: EU entry talks may be path to dialogue with Ankara

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Luxembourg, April 27 (CTK) – Turkey’s stagnating accession talks may become an instrument for the EU’s dialogue with Ankara, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said today, on the eve of an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Malta where relations with Turkey will also be discussed.

“In view of the latest development, Turkey’s EU entry is far from topical,” Zaoralek said, alluding to a recent referendum that strengthened the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Nevertheless, he said the continuation of the negotiations and search of a dialogue are still valuable.

Turkey is the EU’s crucial partner of a big strategic and military weight in its region, in the economic field as well as in solving the migrant crisis, he said.

Zaoralek said he would not call for radical steps at the upcoming Malta meeting, but that there are certain lines that must not be crossed. One of them would be Turkey’s decision to reintroduce death penalty, he said.

“If so, any talks about [Turkish EU] accession would have to stop,” Zaoralek said, adding that the European Commission, too, set the same “red line” a few days ago.

A year ago, the EU and Ankara signed an agreement that was crucial for stemming migration along the Balkans route. Both sides have been fulfilling the agreement so far, in spite of threats and strong words on the Turkish part and growing scepticism on the part of the EU.

“I have always been convinced that Turkey needs Europe immensely. I believe that the Turkish side, too, will show willingness not to worsen or escalate our mutual relations,” Zaoralek said.


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