Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has said that he would start a discussion among European heads of government to quit talks with Turkey about joining the European Union because of the country's democratic and economic deficits.
European leaders have voiced concern over Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on dissidents after a failed coup attempt month his idea of reintroducing the death penalty in Turkey.
In an interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF, Kern said: "We are all well advised to now say we're pressing the reset button," calling membership talks a "diplomatic fiction".
Nearly three decades after its official bid to join the European club, Turkey is not yet a European Union member. Talks on possible EU membership for Turkey have been taking place since 1963, when Ankara and Brussels drafted an association agreement stating the country would aim to be a member of the bloc.
Not astonishingly, according to YouGov's latest Eurotrack survey, there is immense hostility to Turkey joining the European Union. Britain is the least hostile of all the EU countries with 67% against the Turkish entry into the EU. In other countries the opposition is: Denmark 82%, Finland 83%, France 74%, Germany 86% and Sweden 73%.
On June 22, 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bluntly said Europe doesn't want his country to join the EU because the majority of the nation's population is Muslim. He said his government will ask the public whether negotiations with Brussels should continue. He was quoted by Reuters as saying at a graduation ceremony in Istanbul:
"Europe, you don't want us because the majority of our population are Muslim...we knew it but we tried to show our sincerity,"Erdogan said at a graduation ceremony in Istanbul."
The comments were made on the eve of Britain's historic 'Brexit' vote, in which UK citizens decided no to remain part of the EU.
Referring to Britain's vote, Erdogan stated that Turkey could also hold a referendum on the EU. "We will go and ask the public whether we should continue negotiations with the EU ."
Tellingly, Turkey's chief negotiator with the EU, Egemen Bagis, was quoted by daily Telegraph in September 2013, as saying that Turkey will probably never become a member of the European Union because of stiff opposition and "prejudiced" attitudes from current members.
Vatican opposes Turkish membership of EU
In December 2010, The Guardian reported that previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome indicated that the pope is responsible for the Vatican's growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU.
In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.
The cable released by WikiLeaks shows that Ratzinger was the leading voice behind the Holy See's unsuccessful drive to secure a reference to Europe's "Christian roots" in the EU constitution. The US diplomat noted that Ratzinger "clearly understands that allowing a Muslim country into the EU would further weaken his case for Europe's Christian foundations".
The Vatican's acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger's comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.