VIENNA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkey should not become a member of the European Union but instead the two parties should have a neighborhood treaty, Austria's Minister for Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz said Wednesday.
He made the suggestion in a paper cited by the Austria Press Agency, which includes proposals for Austria's position as it prepares to take on the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the latter half of 2018.
Kurz said it is time that Europe "clarifies its relationship with Turkey", and unlike Western Balkans states, Turkey has for years been "moving away from the EU".
He also wrote of the "human rights, rule of law, and democracy" situation in Turkey. "The accession of this Turkey to the EU is therefore unthinkable," he added.
Kurz noted, however, that Turkey remains an important regional and economic player, and as such both it and the EU have an interest in the "closest possible and constructive relationship at eye level".
His proposal puts forth the idea of a European-Turkish neighborhood treaty, as opposed to a "stubborn adherence to an accession fiction".