Greece: Ending EU talks with Turkey 'strategic mistake'

Greece: Ending EU talks with Turkey 'strategic mistake'
2 min read
10 September, 2017
Greek leader Alexis Tsipras has urged EU powers to keep the door open for Turkey despite relations between the two parties reaching their lowest ebb in years.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras [Getty]

Ending European Union accession talks with Turkey - as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently proposed - would be "a tactical and strategic mistake", said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Tspiras is urging continued engagement with Turkey, despite the authoritarian leanings of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Tsipras says "it's a mistake to close the door and the perspective" of accession.

He gave his remarks at a press conference Sunday at the Thessaloniki International Fair, an annual trade exhibition.

A political clampdown on suspected opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised by European nations, following an attempted coup against the government in 2015. Turkey has in-turn become increasingly belicose in its verbal attacks against its NATO allies and hinted at a foreign conspiracy behind the coup plot.

Erdogan has criticised Washington for bringing charges against a former Turkish minister, calling it a politically-motivated act against Turkey.

Former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan was accused of accused of laundering money on behalf of Iran.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, he condemned the "politically-motivated" move.

"These steps are purely political," he said. "The United States needs to revise this decision, there are very unusual smells coming from this issue."

Despite this, US President Donald Trump and Erdogan agreed in a phone call on Saturday to continue to work toward stronger ties and regional security, Erdogan's office said this weekend.

The two leaders agreed to meet in New York at the United States General Assembly, scheduled for later this month.