Turkey worries that Merkel victory hurts its EU bid

30th September 2009, Comments 1 comment

Merkel has long advocated "privileged partnership" instead of EU membership for Turkey but her outgoing coalition partner, the Social Democrats, sought to strike a balance with their support for Ankara.

Ankara -- Turkish newspapers warned Tuesday that stronger German opposition was in store for Turkey' bid to join the European Union after Chancellor Angela Merkel won a second four-year mandate.

"Turkey is the loser" after Sunday's general elections in Germany, the liberal Milliyet daily wrote.

"We should expect Merkel to sharpen her opposition to Turkey's membership," the popular Aksam said.

Merkel has long advocated "privileged partnership" instead of EU membership for Turkey, but her outgoing coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), sought to strike a balance with their support for Ankara.

In Sunday's vote, the conservative chancellor garnered enough votes to dump the SPD for an alliance with the Free Democrats.

"The SPD and (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier as foreign minister were able to put the breaks on the Christian Democrats concerning Turkey's EU membership ... The second Merkel term will now lead to more difficult times for Turkey," Milliyet said.

Merkel's "hands are freer now against Turkey's EU bid," the English-language Today's Zaman wrote, while the mass-selling Hurriyet said that "it would be futile for Turkey to expect any support from Germany in the next four years."

Merkel's opposition to Turkey is shared by another EU heavyweight, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who argues that the relatively poor mainly Muslim country of 71 million does not belong in Europe.

Turkey began accession negotiations in 2005, but has so far opened talks in only 11 of the 35 policy areas candidates must complete, with the process slowed down also by disputes over Cyprus and the sluggish pace of reform in Ankara.

AFP/Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • SAS posted:

    on 30th September 2009, 20:24:15 - Reply

    Angela Merkel is forming a coalition with the Free Democratic Party, which will take over the helm of the German foreign ministry. The Free Democrats are not opposed to Turkey joining the EU and have indicated they are willing to support Turkish membership in the event of Turkey meeting the necessary criteria. The German elections are unlikely to radically alter the dynamic of Turkish-EU relations.