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Mogherini: Turkey Remains EU Candidate, Despite Rights Record

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (file photo)

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says Turkey remains a candidate for European Union membership despite serious concerns that its human rights record could prevent fresh accession talks.

But Mogherini said "concrete steps” are needed by Ankara before there could be any progress on Turkey’s long-stalled candidacy.

Mogherini made the remarks on July 25 after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Ankara’s EU Affair Minister Omer Celik.

Mogherini said there has been a "worrying pattern of imprisonments of a large number of members of the democratic opposition, journalists, and human rights defenders in Turkey."

She said the July 25 talks in Brussels stressed that "cooperation and dialogue need to be sustained by concrete positive steps in the areas of rule of law and fundamental freedoms" as well as bilateral relations with each EU member state.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said after the talks with Cavusoglu and Celik that "human rights, the rule of law, democracy, fundamental freedoms, including media freedom are all basic imperative requirements for any progress towards the European Union."

With reporting by Marek Hajduk in Brussels, Reuters, AP, and AFP