Thursday

29th Jul 2021

Turkey accuses Merkel of racism

  • EU politicians "should rather focus on their own internal issues," Turkey's Cavusoglu said (Photo: Bled Strategic Forum)

The Turkish government has accused the German chancellor of being "racist" after she called for an end to Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

Mainstream parties "are using the same rhetoric as racist parties" in order to win back voters they lost to populist parties, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday (4 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

On Sunday, in a TV debate with her opponent Martin Schulz ahead of the 24 September elections, German chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would speak to other EU leaders to "end" accession talks.

"The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU," she said.

Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, agreed that "we should not allow in a country that is against EU values."

Turkey's Cavusoglu noted that "Turkey and Hungary were discussed more than internal issues" during the debate.

"They should rather focus on their own internal issues," he said.

Cavusoglu, who spoke at the Bled Strategic Forum, an event in Slovenia, said EU accession "is still a strategic goal for Turkey".

"Turkey has no problem to open any chapter and to discuss and negotiate any technical issue," he added, denouncing "political obstacles" to the process.

He said that "nothing has changed in Turkey", despite EU concerns about Turkey's crackdown on opponents of Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan after the failed coup in July 2016.

Cavusoglu said "the EU didn't support democracy in Turkey" in its response to the coup and this was why the "support of Turkish people for EU membership has declined".

Earlier on Monday, a spokesman for Erdogan said "Germany and Europe's attacks" were "ignoring necessary and pressing problems".

"We hope the problematic atmosphere that made Turkish-German relations the victim of this narrow political horizon will end," he added.

'Dialogue continues'

The European Commission reacted cautiously to Merkel's remarks.

"Turkey is a candidate country for the moment," the EU high representative Federica Mogherini said, also in Bled, Slovenia.

"Dialogue continues, work on negotiations continues," she said.

"On the future, I would suggest that we look beyond what is said in electoral campaigns, both in Turkey and in the European Union," she added, saying that the EU must work with Turkey, "a key player in a region that is strategically important for us."

"Working together is a must when you are neighbours," she said.

In Brussels, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said EU support for Turkey was "not unlimited and not unconditional", but he added that the EU should "reflect on these things calmly".

"This a decision for member states to take," he said.

He reminded press that Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was also critical of Turkey last week.

In a speech to EU ambassadors in Brussels Juncker said: "'Turkey is taking giant strides away from Europe" and that Erdogan was making accession "impossible".

EU and Turkey fail to defuse tensions

A "high level political dialogue" ended with tense exchanges at a press conference over the human rights situation in Turkey.

Juncker: Death penalty will end Turkey's EU bid

Turkish president Erdogan said he would reinstate capital punishment, for people behind last year's failed military coup. But European Commission president Juncker says the move would end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

News in Brief

  1. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  2. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment
  3. Report: Balkan states seek 'mini-Schengen'
  4. Lithuania sees new spike in migrant crossings from Belarus
  5. Google challenges Germany's new hate-speech law
  6. EU pauses Brexit legal threat on Northern Ireland
  7. US names its ambassador to EU
  8. UK in talks with US for travel corridor

Opinion

Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.

Interview

Does North Macedonia really exist?

Its language and history give North Macedonia its identity for president Stevo Pendarovski, but, for Bulgaria, neither of them are real, in a dispute holding up EU enlargement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  2. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  3. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  4. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  5. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  6. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?
  7. US maintains summer travel ban on EU tourists
  8. Does democracy need troublemakers?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us