Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

EU-Turkey relations on edge after Germany blocks talks

  • EU Council: Germany and the Netherlands said No (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Turkey has reacted angrily to Germany's hesitation on restarting EU entry talks.

The talks were to resume on Wednesday (26 June), with the opening of a chapter on regions, after negotiations broke off in late 2010.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But Germany's EU ambassador at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday said he is not willing to give the green light.

An EU official said the Dutch ambassador also placed a "procedural reserve" on the Netherlands' approval, saying he must consult with The Hague before he makes up his mind.

The development comes after Turkey's violent crackdown on street protests over the past two weeks.

But it does not mean that Wednesday's accession talks are definitely cancelled.

The other 25 EU countries and the European Commission are keen to go ahead.

The German government is also divided on the subject.

Chancellor Angela Merkel this week strongly criticised Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But her foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, on Thursday said the EU should also open a second chapter - on free speech and freedom of assembly - in reaction to events.

The EU ambassadors will meet again on Monday morning in Luxembourg.

If they cannot agree, EU foreign ministers are likely to tackle the issue at the same venue later in the day.

In the meantime, Turkish officials say they are considering a range of options if Germany upholds its veto.

Potential measures include: withdrawing Turkey's EU ambassador, Selim Yenel, for consultations in Ankara; cancelling joint EU meetings on foreign policy; and cancelling meetings between Turkish MPs and MEPs.

"The reaction in Ankara will I think be quite harsh … I hope common sense will prevail in the EU," a Turkish source told this website.

Another Turkish contact said: "We have fulfilled all the technical conditions [for opening the regions chapter]. So the German objection is political."

For his part, Turkey's EU affairs minister Egemen Bagis told Turkish TV that Merkel is exploiting the situation to win right-wing votes.

"If Mrs Merkel is looking for domestic political material for her elections [in September], that material should not be Turkey," he said.

He likened her to former centre-right French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, saying the Frenchman bashed Turkey in his election campaign last year, but lost.

"Sarkozy tried to use it [Turkey] before, but it did not end too well for him," he noted.

"Those who mess about with Turkey do not have an auspicious end," he added.

Opinion

The future of European Turkey

The time has come for Turkish President Abdullah Gul to show statesmanship and speak out clearly and forcefully against the abuse of power.

Opinion

Overcoming the plot against Turkish democracy

One year after an attempted coup, what Turkey needs is not biased and groundless criticism but more cooperation, dialogue and understanding, writes its Europe minister Omer Celik.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference