Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Tensions rise over Turkey EU bid

‘SKEPTICAL’:Despite Germany’s opposition to Turkey’s crackdown on protests, a German spokesperson said there was ‘no direct link’ between the protests and EU negotiations

AFP, BERLIN

He said that “of course accession negotiations take place in a political context.”

In February Merkel indicated she backed the opening of the new chapter, while warning that she was “skeptical” about the outcome of the negotiations.

Her deputy spokesman Georg Streiter insisted on Friday that neither Merkel nor her government “is questioning the accession process.”

“This is not about whether, but rather how to move forward with the accession process,” he said.

He added that the EU wanted to continue working together with Turkey “also in the area of human rights.”

However, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group, Volker Kauder, on Friday said that the crackdown could have serious consequences for Turkey’s EU ambitions.

“I can only warn [Ankara] against sending in the military” against protesters, he told the daily Die Welt in an interview to be published yesterday. “That would push Turkey light years away from Europe. Then the EU would have to suspend accession negotiations.”

The Turkish government threatened this week to send in troops if the demonstrations, which have left four people dead and thousands wounded, continued.

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