Sunday

25th Jun 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.

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.

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.

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit