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Future EU leaders need to decide on Türkiye’s membership application: Borrell

The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, stated that the European Union must decide on Türkiye's stalled membership application, as the current impasse is unsustainable. Speaking at a conference, Borrell emphasized the need for clarity on the EU-Türkiye relationship, noting that Türkiye feels the EU has lost interest in its accession.

Published May 25,2024

The European Union foreign policy chief said Friday that the bloc's future leaders will need to decide on Türkiye's application to become a member, as the current stalemate is no longer tenable.

"EU Council leaders will have to say what kind of relationship we want to have (with Türkiye)," Josep Borrell said at a conference on European affairs in Florence that was organized by the European University Institute.

He said that Türkiye feels that the bloc is no longer interested in having it as a member after years in which the accession process has stalled.

"That's what they believe," he said. "And they are looking for a decision on our side."

"We cannot continue … like this, because more and more, Türkiye is taking another direction not converging with our values," he said.

Borrell started his address at the conference with opening remarks about the current challenges affecting the EU, but he was almost immediately interrupted by three pro-Palestinian activists, who read a statement in English, while holding a Palestinian flag and shouted "Shame!" several times.

"I understand you're perfectly," said the EU foreign policy chief, as he let them speak.

Referring to the recent decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to recognize a Palestinian state, he said such a decision does not mean "supporting Hamas."

"I really have to contest the positions expressed by the Israeli government," he said, adding that the recognition is a gesture of support to the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, which the EU considers a terror group.

He said Israel has the right to defend itself but it has to happen in accordance with international law.

"And if it doesn't happen, what to do?" he said.

So far, the EU has not found a common position on the matter and Borrel said he hopes at Monday's EU foreign ministers' council meeting in Brussels the bloc will be able to make progress toward a consensus.

He said the disagreements on Israel's conduct of the onslaught in Gaza are an example of the difficulty the EU has in finding a common position on several matters.

"We have to overcome that situation and create a common strategic culture, a common understanding of the world," he said.