Saturday

19th Aug 2017

Merkel warns Turkey on 'very, very serious situation'

German chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a stark warning to Turkey saying there will be no "business as usual" in Ankara's EU membership talks if it continues to be defiant on the Cyprus issue.

In an interview with Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday (6 November), Ms Merkel said that if Ankara continues to refuse to open its ports and airports to trade from Cyprus – as agreed with the EU in the so-called Ankara protocol – it risks a crisis in its accession negotiations with Brussels.

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.

  • The Bosphorus seen from space: the waterway is all that divides Turkey from mainland Europe, but the political gap is widening (Photo: wikipedia)

"We need the implementation of the Ankara protocol on the freedom of movement of goods also with Cyprus. Otherwise, a very, very serious situation arises regarding the continuation of the accession talks," the chancellor said.

"I appeal to Turkey that it does everything in order not to end up in such a situation and in order not to lead the European Union into such a situation," she added.

The comments come two days before the release of a key European Commission report on Wednesday which could recommend a partial freeze of the membership talks – a move which Ms Merkel indicated she would support if Turkey continues to ignore the EU's demands.

"In that case the EU cannot just continue like that. Turkey needs to know: a simple ‘business as usual' is no option if there is no movement in the area of the Ankara protocol."

The Wednesday report is also set to criticise curbs on free speech - especially article 301 of the Turkish penal code against "insulting Turkishness" - and human rights standards in relation to prisoners, ethnic and religious minorities, women and trade unions, the BBC says.

Meeting cancelled

The German chancellor's strong words follow last week's cancellation of a last-ditch meeting which was aimed at forging a breakthrough between Turkey and Cyprus before Wednesday's commission report.

The Finnish EU presidency called off the meeting, due to start on Sunday, following Turkey's anger that Greece would not be attending the talks.

The leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mehmet Ali Talat, also criticised Helsinki for not involving the UN, amid Finnish plans for a trade-off solution which would see an ending of the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot North of the island in return for Turkey implementing the Ankara protocol.

Pandora's box

The Finnish-proposed link between the Ankara protocol and the lifting of the isolation of Turkish Cypriots has opened a Pandora's box of demands by both sides of the Mediterranean island, divided since 1974 along a UN-monitored line.

Now that the issue is likely to remain unsolved ahead of the commission report on Wednesday, critical passages in the report are likely to fuel calls by EU capitals for a partial or even complete halt of Ankara's accession negotiations before the end of the year.

EU leaders are set to find the issue on their plate at a summit in December, with every single member state - including Cyprus - able to veto the opening or closing of any new chapter in Turkey's EU talks.

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.

Turkey's accelerated drift from Europe

Turkey's path towards EU membership seems harder than ever in the past 54 years, after Erdogan, this week, threatened to "wave" goodbye to the bloc.

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. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides