Merkel's party says still opposed to Turkey joining EU

23rd June 2013, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party on Sunday reiterated, in its election programme, its long-standing opposition to Turkey joining the European Union.

In comments that came amid heightened tensions between Berlin and Ankara, Merkel also said the goal of a "privileged partnership" between Turkey and the bloc had been reworded because Turkey did not want it.

"We are not talking about a privileged partnership," she said.

"You know, if you think you had a good idea but the other side keeps rejecting it, then you reach a point where you don't bring it up again. We have now realised that Turkey doesn't want it," she said, adding that talks would however continue.

Both countries had the previous day summoned each others' ambassadors after tensions flared over Turkey's violent crackdown on protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government as well as over the long-standing EU bid.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in its programme for September 22 elections stressed it wanted deeper ties because of the "strategic and economic importance of Turkey for Europe as well as the varied people-to-people relations".

But it reiterated that "we reject full membership because (Turkey) does not meet the conditions for joining the EU. Also, given the size of the country and its economic structure, the European Union would be overwhelmed," the text said.

Germany, the biggest EU economy, is home to around three million people with Turkish roots, and is also Turkey's biggest trading partner.


© 2013 AFP

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