Tuesday

3rd May 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Delays as Brussels airport reopens terminal
  2. MEPs urge extra sanctions on Russian officials
  3. Poland's right-wing leader wants constitutional overhaul
  4. Don't silence media, Council of Europe tells countries
  5. Eurostat: 88,300 lone minors among refugees
  6. EU unemployment lowest in seven years
  7. Nord Stream II will undermine EU security, EPP leader says
  8. Brussels Airport reopens departure hall after attack

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  2. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  3. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  4. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  5. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  6. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  7. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  8. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  9. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  12. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects

Latest News

  1. EU refutes Greenpeace's 'storm in teacup' on US trade
  2. Empty Gazpromises
  3. Russia wary as Nordic states mull closer Nato ties
  4. EU advances Turkey visa deal amid migration fears
  5. German populist party adopts anti-Islam manifesto
  6. TTIP leaks: US undermining EU standards, says Greenpeace
  7. Visas, economy and Charlemagne Prize This WEEK
  8. EU roaming charge cut enters UK referendum campaign