By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's foreign minister criticized Slovenian President Borut Pahor's statements over offering Turkey a "special status", instead of a full EU membership.
Speaking at the 14th Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Monday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Pahor was "strongly" advocating Turkey's EU membership until last year.
"I do not know what changed his mind. Probably [French President Emmanuel] Macron and some others. But there should be a principle of continuity of the state and also of the EU," Cavusoglu said.
He said Turkey is ready to open a new chapter in negotiations with the EU, if the issue is related to standards and commitments.
Cavusoglu said if Turkey does not meet the opening or closing benchmarks, then Turkey cannot be a member.
"But if Turkey meets the opening benchmarks of the chapters, then, we should actually continue our negotiations," he added.
Pahor said that he would suggest a "special status" for Turkey and Ukraine, and full EU membership for Western Balkan countries.
Turkey applied for membership in the European Economic Community (a precursor to the EU) in 1987. It became eligible for EU membership in 1997 and accession talks began in 2004.
However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections by the Greek Cypriot administration, as well as opposition from Germany and France.