Europe

EU debates Turkey membership amid push for a freeze

  • Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, left, speaks with, from left, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, Malta's Foreign Minister George Vella and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. EU foreign ministers hold talks Monday on the conflict in Syria, relations with Africa and migration. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, left, speaks with, from left, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, Malta's Foreign Minister George Vella and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. EU foreign ministers hold talks Monday on the conflict in Syria, relations with Africa and migration. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the funeral prayers for police officer Hasim Usta, who was killed with dozens of others late Saturday outside the Besiktas football club stadium Vodafone Arena, in Istanbul, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Turkey's police rounded up more than 100 members of a Kurdish political party on Monday as the country mourned the dozens killed in a bombing attack near an Istanbul soccer stadium. Turkish authorities have banned distribution of images relating to the Istanbul explosions within Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the funeral prayers for police officer Hasim Usta, who was killed with dozens of others late Saturday outside the Besiktas football club stadium Vodafone Arena, in Istanbul, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Turkey's police rounded up more than 100 members of a Kurdish political party on Monday as the country mourned the dozens killed in a bombing attack near an Istanbul soccer stadium. Turkish authorities have banned distribution of images relating to the Istanbul explosions within Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union is debating how to move forward in membership talks with Turkey amid a push to freeze the negotiations in response to the government's security crackdown since the failed coup.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Tuesday that his country "will say that it's impossible to open new chapters for the accession process."

Reynders said it is important to cooperate with Turkey to fight terrorism, exchange information about foreign fighters from Europe traveling to Syria and Iraq and to manage the refugee crisis.

But on membership, he said, "it's difficult to go further with such a situation in Turkey."

Turkish authorities have arrested almost 38,000 people and purged more than 100,000 others from government jobs since the thwarted coup on July 15.