Today.Az » World news » Several EU states back Turkey dialogue
08 September 2017 [16:27] - Today.Az
By Ali Mustafayev
Several EU member states have opposed Germany’s decision to suspend Turkey’s EU membership talks amid recent tensions between Ankara and Berlin.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini voiced his country’s support for the continuation of Turkey’s EU membership process, Anadolu Agency reported.
"I think that it is always useful to have a dialogue," he told reporters ahead of an informal EU foreign affairs meeting in Estonia on Thursday, and dismissed cutting negotiations with Turkey despite "problems".
“If we do not talk to each other, this is not a very constructive way to go forward,” he added.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius also turned down recent calls by German politicians to end Turkey’s EU talks, and warned that such a move could have counterproductive consequences.
“We should continue the process and the engagement,” he stressed.
"We should not push Turkey … away. Turkey is a great country, a strategically important country for all of us," Boris Johnson, U.K. Foreign Secretary, told reporters outside an informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Estonia.
Johnson said European countries should recognize that Turkey had been experiencing difficult times since the defeated coup attempt last year.
The future of Turkey’s EU membership talks has become a major topic in the German parliamentary elections campaign on September 24.
Germany's political parties, especially the current coalition partners to Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) led by Martin Schulz and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, have promised to increase the pressure on Turkey and put an end to Turkey's EU accession talks as part of their election campaigns.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is running for re-election, promised earlier to raise the possibility of suspending or ending Turkey’s EU membership talks in discussions with her counterparts, at a summit in Brussels next month.
Ties between Turkey and European states have been strained since the defeated coup attempt in Turkey last year as Ankara accused European countries of failing to show strong solidarity with the Turkish Government against the attempted military takeover.
Ankara also criticized Germany, Belgium and several other European countries for turning a blind eye to outlawed groups and terrorist organizations hostile to Turkey.
European officials have repeatedly questioned widespread investigations by the Turkish authorities into the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which Ankara accuses of having organized the defeated military coup attempt.
However, Ankara insists it is acting to maintain security in the country, which has seen hundreds of its citizens killed in terrorist attacks by different groups over the past years.