Mogherini says EU will continue talks with Turkey

Federica Mogherini, foreign policy chief of European Union (EU) said on Monday that Turkey’s EU accession talks will continue by underlining Ankara’s role as a partner in the region. “We are continuing to talk with Turkey,” said Mogherini who visited the northwestern Slovenian town of Bled to attend in 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 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.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has criticised the anti-Erdoğan rhetoric used by German and Austrian politicians ahead of fall elections in those countries on Monday. “We follow with regret the foundation of election campaigns of political leaders in Germany and Austria on an anti-Turkey basis and on preventing Turkey’s EU membership,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

The statement added: “Turkey designates its own way and has a so rich belonging and future that it cannot be seen by the myopic point of view of the aforementioned countries’ politicians.” The rhetoric used in election campaigns in Germany and Austria is troubling for Europe, it alleged.

The statement claimed that these politicians surrendering to a raw populism based in an anti-Turkish attitude instead of finding solutions to the political and economic challenges facing Europe endangers not only the continent but the entire world. There is no doubt that this populist attitude will encourage the scourges of xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia in Europe, where they are spreading.

“We want to remind the politicians, who were running behind us during the refugee crisis to save the EU from a great chaos, that not leaving relations with Turkey to the monopoly of populism bears great importance not only for the future of our bilateral relations but also for their political responsibility towards their citizens, including Turkish-origin ones,” the statement stressed.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has also criticised German politicians on Monday sparring in a weekend debate for focusing on Turkey rather than Germany’s own pressing problems. “The debate started with Turkey and ended with Turkey. The election isn’t taking place in Turkey, it is taking place in Germany,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Slovenia while attending a foreign policy forum.

“Do German politicians have any other messages to present to their people besides Turkey? How will they solve the problems in Germany?”

Çavuşoğlu has claimed that German politicians should have talked instead about the rising racism in Germany and Europe, Islamophobia, antisemitism, the European economy, and the future of the European Union. “Looking at these debates, we see populism at its peak. Europe must get rid itself of this political populism,” added he. He has also claimed that Europe is returning to pre-World War II values of fascism and intolerance.

Three weeks before Sept. 24 general elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-left rival Martin Schulz clashed over policy on Turkey’s despotic regime under the rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a televised debate on Sunday night, with Schulz making a proposal to halt Ankara’s EU membership talks and freeze €4 billion ($4.68 billion) in pre-accession funds.

Turkey’s President Erdoğan has long been accusing Germany of harboring terrorists, while the pro-Erdoğan media claim that Germany is working systematically to undermine Turkey’s development. Germany hosts around 3 million immigrants of Turkish descent. Turkey is a popular vacation destination for German tourists.

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