VIENNA: Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz opposes any steps that would bring Turkey closer to joining the European Union, he said in remarks released on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). Referring to the opening of further negotiating chapters — the process through which countries seeking to join can formally move towards membership — Kurz voiced his opposition in an interview with the Kurier daily due to be published on Sunday (Monday in Manila). “I have a say in the matter on the [European] Council of Foreign Ministers, where it will be decided if a new chapter will be opened with Turkey. And I am opposed to it,” he said. Decisions taken by the council have to be agreed unanimously. Kurz’s comments follow criticism of Turkey from Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and Defense Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil in the wake of Turkey’s recent post-coup crackdown. The country’s longstanding, and recently revived, bid to join the EU has also been undermined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion that he may reintroduce the death penalty after the July 15 attempted putsch.