Having blasted Germany for “abetting terrorists,” Turkish president Edrogan was on the receiving end of some ire this weekend as the refugee crisis and the EU deal with Turkey dominated the TV debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition ally SPD challenger Martin Schulz on Sunday.
The rivals agreed, however, that Turkey can’t be part of the EU.
“If I become German chancellor, if the people of this country give me a mandate, then I will propose to the European Council that we end the membership talks with Turkey. Now all red lines are crossed, so this country can no longer become a member of the EU,”said Schulz during the debate, forcing the CDU leader to clarify her position on the issue.
“The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,”said Merkel, agreeing with Schulz.
“I’ll speak to my [EU] colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks,” added Merkel, who is hoping to get re-elected for a fourth term.
As RT notes, the government in Ankara is moving away from democratic principles at a “breathtaking” speed, Merkel said, adding that at the moment“the accession negotiations are non-existent.”
However, she refused to completely freeze the relationship with Turkey.
Additionally, Reuters reports thatthe actions of the Turkish authorities are making it “impossible” for the country to join the European Union, an EU executive said on Monday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for ending accession talks.
Quoting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker from last week, before Merkel’s election campaign comment, the Commission’s chief spokesman told a regular news briefing:
“Turkey is taking giant strides away from Europe and that is making it impossible for Turkey to join the European Union.”
He stressed, however, that any decision on whether to formally halt the long-stalled membership process would be up to the 28 member states of the bloc, not the Brussels executive.
Turkey has been receiving funding from the EU, which will reach €6 billion by 2018, as part of the deal to halt the migrant flow into Europe, signed in March 2016. Turkey was also promised visa free travel and expedited talks on joining the EU, but the discussion of those issues remains stalled due to Ankara’s refusal to relax its harsh anti-terrorism laws. As EU-Turkish ties hang in the balance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been actively reiterating his threats to withdraw from the deal and again allow migrants to pour into the EU.