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EU should not close door on Turkey membership talks - Germany

German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth attends a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union should not stop its accession talks with Turkey despite a lack of progress and questions about the rule of law in the country, Germany’s EU minister said on Tuesday.

The European Commission is expected to hand out its most critical report on talks with Turkey since the country launched its bid to join the European Union over a decade ago.

“It is in the hands of those responsible in Turkey to decide whether they want to be a member of this European community of values,” Michael Roth said on arrival to a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg.

“I would suggest we do not slam the door shut. That would be a wrong signal towards those in Turkey who still long for European values,” he added.

But Austria’s minister Gernot Bluemel said the talks should be halted. “We don’t believe Turkey should become a part of the European Union,” Bluemel said.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Robert-Jan Bartunek