August 4, 2016 / 3:37 PM / 2 years ago

EU's Juncker rejects Austria's push to freeze Turkey accession talks

BERLIN (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in remarks published on Thursday that it would be counterproductive to freeze accession talks with Turkey, rejecting a push by Austria to halt membership talks.

Juncker told German public broadcaster ARD that Turkey is currently unfit to become a member of the European Union, in comments that could further strain relations between Ankara and the bloc it is seeking to join after a failed military coup.

“Turkey, in the state it is currently in, cannot become a member of the European Union,” Juncker told ARD in Brussels. “And certainly not if it reintroduces the death penalty as some are demanding.”

He added: “I don’t think it would be helpful if we would unilaterally tell Turkey that the negotiations are over.”

Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Andrea Shalal

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