Turkey’s European Union membership accession talks will continue, said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday, underlining Ankara’s role as a partner in the region.
“We are continuing to talk with Turkey,” Mogherini said in the northwestern Slovenian town of Bled, where she came for the 2017 Bled Strategic Forum.
She underlined that Turkey remains a partner in the region in many different areas and is still a candidate country.
“So, we will continue talks, it will be up to the internal discussions we will have and most of all to the discussions we will have together with them to define the future of our relations,” said the EU’s top diplomat.
Speaking to reporters, Mogherini highlighted that important EU contacts from Ankara, including Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, were also attending the forum.
She also described the latest Turkey-EU High-Level Political Dialogue in late July in Brussels as “good talks”.
“We are not always agreeing on everything. There are some issues … that are taking our positions very much apart, but talks continue,” she added.
Addressing a panel of the forum later in the day, Mogherini reiterated that Turkey and the EU are “partners” and work together in many different fields.
She noted that despite having some difficult issues in which the work between the two sides grew difficult, the “dialogue continues, work on [membership] negotiations continues”.
“We might have an internal discussion in the European Union as they might have an internal discussion in Turkey on whether this will change,” she added.
“For the moment, this is not the case.”
“We always focus on EU-Turkey relations in the context of accession negotiations, and this is understandable. And sometimes we tend to forget that Turkey is a key player in a region that is strategically important for us: the Middle East, the Mediterranean,” said Mogherini.
She added that Turkey is a country “with whom we are working on some files that are fundamental strategic both for us and for them, from counter-terrorism to the Cyprus issue to Syria.”
On more discussions on negotiations following the Sept. 24 elections in Germany, Mogherini said: “On the future, I would suggest that we look beyond what is said in electoral campaigns both in Turkey and the European Union. And I am looking forward to the moment we sit together at the table and find what is going to be future of our relations.”
The statements followed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-left rival Martin Schulz clashing over Turkey policy in a televised debate Sunday night, with Schulz making a surprise proposal to halt Ankara’s EU membership talks and freeze its pre-accession funds.
Anti-Turkey rhetoric has gained ground in Germany as the country is going to the polls on Sept. 24 to decide the fate of Merkel’s government.
Source: Anadolu Agency