Croatia wants Turkey, which it deems to be an important partner notably due to its clout in southeastern Europe, to continue its journey towards the European Union, and to this aim, Turkey should meet all necessary criteria, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in Bratislava on Saturday where he attended an informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Gymnich).

"Turkey is very important partner to all of us in the EU, notably to us in Croatia, given that it has a great influence in southeastern Europe, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro," Croatia's minister told the press after the Gymnich participants held a meeting with Turkey's European Affairs Minister Omer Celik.

"We want Turkey to continue its journey towards the EU," Kovac said adding that to this aim, Ankara must meet all criteria.

"This depends on the Turkish authorities," he said adding that the EU expects Ankara to show a democratic approach "when dealing with those who tried to oust the legally elected authorities."

The EU had already condemned the attempted coup in Turkey, however, it also expressed concerns about the state of affairs in human rights in the wake of large-scale arrests in the military and civil services.

According to Kovac, Minister Celik acquainted EU foreign ministers with some details about the failed coup.

"He outlined the Turkish position on the developments in Turkey, and efforts Turkey is making to come closer to the EU," the Croatian minister said.

 The relations between the EU and Turkey have grown strained amid Brussels' criticism of the Turkish anti-terror legislation and a state of affairs in the human rights protection. On the other hand, Turkey expects the EU to introduce a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens in compliance with the EU-Turkey agreement on retaining refugees on Turkish soil. 

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