Turkey and Austria are trying to normalize relations after months of tension between Ankara and Vienna, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. The two ministers discussed how they can start a new page on bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that Turkey has made efforts to improve relations with Europe and the rest of the world and has no hostility towards any nation. The ties between the two countries were tightened in 2016 when the Austrian authorities imposed restrictions on Turkish politicians who wanted to campaign in the country before a key referendum in Turkey. Kneissl said that he had also discussed Turkey’s offer to join the EU. “We know that Austria has a different position on the issue, which is not a secret, we have a lot of problems to discuss besides this” she said. Austria is one of Turkey’s main opponents of the country’s application for EU membership.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in his annual keynote speech to the European Parliament on the state of the bloc, said that he saw no prospect of Turkey joining the EU “in the foreseeable future”, adding that “Turkey has been taking giant strides away from the European Union for some time”. “Accession candidates must give utmost priority to the rule of law, justice and fundamental rights. This rules out EU membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future”, he added. “Journalists belong in newsrooms not in prisons. They belong where freedom of expression reigns”, Juncker said. “Stop insulting our member states by comparing their leaders to fascists and Nazis”. Meanwhile, Juncker put a final stamp on the EU’s recently revived engagement in the Balkans, where Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo all want to join the EU one day. With Britain now scheduled to exit the EU in 2019, Juncker said he foresaw no new enlargement of the bloc before 2020.