Sunday

24th Jul 2016

Germany criticises Turkish PM ahead of EU visit

  • Erdogan (r) and Barroso in 2009: There is talk the Turkish PM might visit Brussels, again, and Berlin, next month (Photo: European Commission)

Germany has said that Turkey’s crackdown on the police and judiciary is putting EU accession talks at risk.

Its foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said he discussed the situation with his EU peers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday (20 January).

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.

He told press: "There are numerous questions to which the Europeans have not received any replies.”

“Demanding that Turkey returns to the rule of law is not just something that can be done, but it's something that has to be done,” he noted.

“Today nobody said that the perspective of opening new chapters should be taken back, but such a debate will not be avoided if there are no satisfying answers,” he added.

Steinmeier spoke shortly before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in the EU capital for his first visit since 2009.

Germany last year forgave him for police violence against pro-democracy protests in Istanbul.

It agreed to restart Turkey’s EU accesion talks.

Its decision also prompted the European Commission to lean on Cyprus to lift its veto on opening two new negotiating “chapters.”

But Erdogan shocked Europe in December by launching a crackdown on policemen and judges who tried to investigate corruption in his inner circle.

He says they are part of a conspiracy organised by Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic guru living in the US.

His line has little sympathy in Brussels, however.

“It reminds me of Communist-era eastern Europe, where authoritarian leaders always blamed unrest on foreign plots,” one EU official told this website.

Erdogan will on Tuesday hold four meetings with top EU officials and leading MEPs.

He has jailed dozens of journalists in Turkey.

But he plans to field questions at a brief press conference alongside European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy.

His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Sunday gave a foretaste of what the PM might say.

On one hand, Davutoglu struck a conciliatory note. "If there is anything that stands contradictory to EU standards, we will listen to this,” he told press in Ankara.

But he indicated that Erdogan is ready to hit back.

“We will [also] ask one by one how the situation [on judicial independence] is in Europe, in Spain, in France,” he added.

Erdogan himself said: "We will continue with this step we have taken … God willing, the game of this treacherous [Gulen] network will be destroyed."

MEPs fear further 'Putinisation' of Turkey

MEPs criticised the harsh crackdown in Turkey after last week's failed coup, and warned that Ankara must not go down the road towards an authoritarian regime, in an extraordinary meeting of the EP's foreign affairs committee.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event Agenda for 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels

Latest News

  1. Munich attack might not have been terrorism
  2. A very British (and Corbynite) coup
  3. Poland 'changing for the worse' for Muslims and refugees
  4. EU aims to lift visas on Turks despite purge
  5. ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW
  6. EU failed to learn lesson from Brexit, Poland says
  7. UK accord on EU workers 'crucial', France says
  8. EU and US take different lines on Turkey crackdown