• Austrian leader signals discussion on ending Turkey talks
  • Progress ‘based on Turkey’s own merits,’ EU Commission says

The European Union said it is up to the Turkish government to make progress in its talks to join the EU after Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern signaled the bloc should consider ending the negotiations with Turkey.

QuickTake Turkey's Continental Divide

“The accession negotiations are based on Turkey’s own merits,” Mina Andreeva, spokeswoman for the European Commission, the EU executive, told reporters in Brussels on Thursday in response to a question about Kern’s comments. Accession talks are “an open-ended process,” she added.

As European leaders step up their criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown following last month’s military coup attempt, Kern called the EU’s current talks with Turkey a “diplomatic fiction” because of what he sees as the country’s lack of democratic standards. 

Asked by broadcaster ORF whether Austria will propose ending accession talks at a summit meeting in September, Kern said “we will start a discussion about this.” Austria will ask for an “alternative concept,” he said. The 28-nation bloc would be well advised to “press the reset button” on the talks, Kern said.

“As a candidate country, Turkey needs to abide by the basic principles at the core” of EU law, “in particular in terms of human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including the system of checks and balances and division of powers,” Andreeva said.

She added that there are no immediate plans to open further negotiation chapters with Turkey in the accession process.

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