EU tells Turkey: website bans hinder accession

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Athens on Saturday took Turkey to task for recently banning access to open-forum websites such as Twitter and YouTube, saying Ankara should implement European values if it wanted to continue with its EU accession bid.

“The accession process also means not just respecting European values, but putting them into practice in the respective country as well,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after the meeting.

“This cannot be reconciled at all with blocking internet information and restricting freedom of opinion and of the press,” he said.

The EU’s top foreign affairs diplomat, Catherine Ashton, emphasized that “social media play an important role for people in Turkey as well.” She said the foreign minister had raised the issue with Turkish EU Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier at “open and frank” informal talks in Athens.

Turkey’s EU accession negotiations were revived in November after three years of stalemate. Germany and France are among the countries opposing Turkey’s joining the bloc in the near future, amid concerns about its human rights record…

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