High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated that they agreed on the continuation of the membership talks with Turkey and said that death penalty should be an absolute red line for the EU.
Foreign Affairs Council gathered in Brussels and exchanged ideas
about membership negotiations with Turkey.
The majority of the EU ministers agreed on the continuation of the membership talks with Turkey.
Mogherini stated that they are still concerned over the recent developments, but they are in contact with Turkish authorities and opposition parties: “It is important to keep all communication channels open. We don't have to understand each other for doing this.” She also added that death penalty should be an absolute red line for the EU.
“Membership negotiations are the only way to influence Turkey”
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was the only one who advocated for halting the negotiations. He stated that Turkey became far away from the EU in terms of human rights.
Germany, France and Britain, which decided to leave the EU, supported the continuation of the negotiations.
While Germany stated that keeping the pace of the negotiations is the only way to have an influence over Turkey, French Foreign Minister said, “It is not a good time to make our relations with Turkey worse by halting the negotiations.”
Boris Johnson, the foreign minister of Britain, said: "We should not push Turkey into a corner, we should not overreact in a way that is against our collective interests.”
Spanish minister stated that though the situation in Turkey raises concerns, the negotiations should continue. Italy stated that the EU cannot keep silent in the face of death penalty, but continuation of the negotiations is important for maintaining dialogue.
Emphasis on “readmission agreement”
Hungary pointed out that the security of the EU depends on the stability in Turkey: “If we suspend the negotiations, the dialogue with Turkey would also be suspended, which would result in the suspension of the readmission agreement.”
Greece also pointed out the importance of the negotiations for having any influence over Turkey.
Stating that they criticize the arrest of HDP MPs, Sweden also supported the continuation of the contact with Turkey.
The decision concerning the future of EU-Turkey relations is expected to be made in December, in the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
Erdoğan: at the end of the year, we should ask the opinion of our people
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reacted strongly against Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, who said that the negotiations would come to an end, if Turkey brings the death penalty back. Erdoğan said that they might hold a referendum about the negotiations with the EU.
Erdoğan said: “They say that they would halt the negotiations. It's fine. They just should decide what to do right away. I, as the president, say that let's wait until the end of the year, then hold a referendum. As far as I know, Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the people of the nation, right?”