ANKARA, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 15th Nov, 2016 ) - Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday said it was up to Turkey to decide whether to advance its bid on joining the European Union, as he voiced Berlin's "serious concern" at the crackdown after the failed July 15 coup. The purge, which has seen over 35,000 people arrested and journalists as well as some MPs put in jail, has raised questions over the future of Turkey's accession effort, which dates back to the 1960s.
But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after talks with Ankara with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that he did not support halting accession talks with Turkey. "The question of whether Turkey goes closer to, or further away, from Europe is not a decision for Europe or the European capitals but should be made in Turkey," Steinmeier told reporters. "I am for a better relationship," he added. Relations between Berlin and Ankara have been strained this year. Recently Steinmeier criticised Turkey's widening purge in response to the coup bid, saying it should not be used as an excuse to muzzle the opposition. Steinmeier said his talks with Cavusoglu had "not been easy" and admitted the pair had expressed "divergent views" about the crackdown in Turkey.