— Elsevier Weekblad (@Else4Weekblad) September 7, 2017
On Sunday, during a televised debate for the upcoming German Federal elections, current Prime Minister Angela Merkel said:
“The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU. I’ll speak to my (EU) colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks.“
This shift in Merkel’s position has been met with various responses. In the EU, Finland and Lithuania have stressed that they want to continue the negotiations, despite Erdogan’s less sub-stellar track record. Lithuanian Social Democrat MP Linas Antanas Linkevičius said that:
“we should continue the process and engagement. It’s not easy but we have to value contacts. By stopping, by cutting, we will (…) encourage them even more to go away. I think the effect would be the opposite than [sic] what we’d wish.“
French president Macron commented in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that:
“Turkey has indeed strayed away from the European Union in recent months and worryingly overstepped the mark in ways that cannot be ignored. But I want to avoid a split because it’s a vital partner in many crises we all face, notably the immigration challenge and the terrorist threat.“
Dutch MEP Kati Piri, spokeswoman on Turkey, advised suspending the membership track – which only requires an EU majority – but to push ahead with customs union talks as the:
“most realistic leverage the EU can now have to try negotiate some standards with Turkey. Turkey under this government does not even uphold the minimum human rights standards. But we should not take away the EU perspective from the Turkish people, and in suspending talks we would have to name conditions for reviving them. But this German twist is triggered by German elections, not by some change on the side of Turkey. So what does Merkel really mean? I think it’s likely she will return to her usual pragmatism after the elections.“
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, reacted to Merkel’s statement by going full-on Social Justice Warrior, minus the safe-spaces:
“What happened during that televised debate is Nazism, what happened there is facism. I’m not saying ‘you’re a Nazi, you’re a Fascist’, I am merely describing what happened there.“
Earlier this year, Erdoğan accused Germany of ‘Nazi methods’ when the German government didn’t allow Turkish ministers to campaign in Germany.
Meanwhile, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, still thinks the European Union can make Turkey change course:
“It will be harder for Turkey to join the European Union, but we mustn’t close the book on it. We do, however, have to send an important signal: the death penalty isn’t acceptable.“
Tajani thinks the Turkish practice of imprisoning journalist is a bad development, but insists he has talked to Erdoğan about this. Good to know that the standards are high for the EU.
H/t reader kevin a.