Turkey's EU membership talks 'must be stopped'

Few EU states support Austria's stance

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The Independent Online

Austria wants the European Union to freeze membership talks with Turkey over Ankara's massive crackdown following the failed coup. 

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that the EU "must at least freeze the accession negotiations".

He said: "It is wrong to continue accession negotiations as if nothing negative has happened in Turkey in the last few months." 

Few EU states support Austria's stance. 

On Thursday, EU leaders will discuss the bloc's deal with Turkey to stop tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open border gates after the European Parliament called last month for a freeze on membership talks. 

Turkish authorities have arrested almost 38,000 people and purged more than 100,000 others from government jobs since the thwarted 15 July coup.

Last week, the EU reached an agreement to grant visa-free travel to 50 million Ukrainians and Georgians.

Officials said the deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures.

Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism which can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies.

The deal on visa suspension must still be formally approved by the member states and the European Parliament.