• Germany edition
 
Merkel: Turkey's EU bid must be kept 'on track'
Photo: DPA

Merkel: Turkey's EU bid must be kept 'on track'

Published: 25 Feb 2013 18:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Feb 2013 18:41 GMT+01:00

"We are going through an open-ended negotiation process... Although I have reservations on full membership, I certainly want to keep the talks on track," Merkel told a joint news conference in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The chancellor also said that she was in favour of opening a new chapter among the 35 in the body of EU law that Turkey has to complete before the bloc's members can make a decision on full membership.

"First of all it will be good to open one chapter and then it will proceed step by step," said Merkel.

Merkel however urged Turkey to implement the Ankara protocol to extend a customs union agreement to internationally recognised Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004.

"Otherwise we won't be able to keep opening chapters," she said in translated remarks.

Turkey has refused to implement the protocol to open its air and sea ports to EU-member Cyprus until the Union moves on its pledge to ease the international isolation of the island's breakaway Turkish-held north.

Ankara also refuses to acknowledge the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government until a full settlement is reached.

Turkey's stance prompted the EU in 2006 to freeze eight of the 35 chapters in the accession process. Thirteen have since been opened to keep the talks alive.

Germany is one of the EU heavyweights, along with France, opposed to Turkey's membership in the 27-nation bloc and has instead offered "privileged partnership," a tailored version that falls short of Ankara's aspirations.

Merkel also raised the issue of jailed journalists in Turkey and asked Ankara to create an environment where "journalists can work freely."

Turkey frequently comes under fire for the record number journalists it holds behind bars, severely tarnishing its image as a candidate nation.

Erdogan however said the number of journalists jailed for their profession were fewer than the "fingers of a hand," and claimed many were jailed for illegal activities, including robbery and man slaughter.

Germany has not vetoed any of the negotiating chapters of the EU law -- which cover human rights, economic, environmental and other issues -- unlike France, which blocked five under right-wing former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"Chancellor Merkel also has hesitations about Turkey's membership to the EU but I have to give her credit. She is not blocking my chapters," Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis told news agency AFP last week.

A public opinion poll published on Sunday revealed unease among Germans regarding Turkey's EU entry, with six out of 10 surveyed opposed. Germany has a sizeable Turkish population of about three million.

France said this month it was ready to resume talks with Ankara on one chapter, breathing life into the fledgling talks.

Ankara welcomed the move as a sign of a change of heart in Europe and demanded stronger support from Berlin and Paris for a "fair chance" in its membership process.

Turkey, an associate member of the old European Economic Community since 1963, first sought to become an EU member in 1987 but only launched formal accession talks in 2005.

Germany is one of Turkey's most important trading partners, with bilateral trade at $35 billion (€26 billion) annually, according to Erdogan. Merkel later Monday was to attend a Turkish-German economic forum in Ankara.

The chancellor, whose last visit was in March 2010, arrived in Turkey on Sunday and headed to the southeastern city of Kahramanmaras near the Syrian border to visit German troops stationed there since January.

The 300 German troops are operating two Patriot batteries brought in to protect NATO member Turkey from any conflict spillover from Syria.

Merkel also visited the ancient Anatolian town of Cappadocia, where she met with Christian minorities and toured the open air museum famous for its display of early Christian heritage.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:10 February 25, 2013 by jarkis
the German government doesn't care about race , culture or traditions anymore ... they just care about money....sad but true.... Germany is going down!!!!!!!!!!!!!
23:12 February 25, 2013 by Englishted
Here is a strange idea why not let the people decide?

I believe it was called democracy when it was practised in Europe before the E.U.
01:23 February 26, 2013 by blackboot11
I guess Angie's banker friends want an easy piece of Turkey's booming economy....
11:03 February 26, 2013 by adam.müller
its easy to understand:

Turkish Economy: $1.288 Trillion with GDP growth increase +8.49 % (2012 est.)

German Economy: $3.577 trillion with GDP growth 0.9% (2012 est.)

its clear who will be the leader in next 5-10 years. TURKEY
16:55 March 1, 2013 by dionisof
"Merkel also visited the ancient Anatolian town of Cappadocia..."...

nice putting it that way....:)...instead of saying the Greek town of Cappadocia...

ancient Anatolian...nice one....Like saying Homer was an ancient turkish poet...!!!!..
Today's headlines
Bundesbank warns of ECB 'change of course'
Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann: Photo: DPA

Bundesbank warns of ECB 'change of course'

The head of Germany's powerful Bundesbank sharply criticised what he called a radical new approach by the European Central Bank of easy money, in an interview published Sunday. READ  

MH17 Crash
Families of German MH17 victims to sue
Australian and Dutch investigators examine a piece of debris of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane. Photo: EPA/DPA/ Igor Kovalenko

Families of German MH17 victims to sue

Relatives of German victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plan to sue Ukraine and its president for criminal negligence for not closing the country's airspace, a lawyer said Sunday. READ  

Sport
Wonder goal puts new boys Paderborn on top
Paderborn players celebrate after defeating Hanover 2-0 to go top of the Bundesliga. Photo: DPA

Wonder goal puts new boys Paderborn on top

Promoted Paderborn went top of the Bundesliga helped by an extraordinary 80-metre goal at Hanover on Saturday as champions Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw by struggling Hamburg. READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Oktoberfest opens to toast millions
Celebrities Carolin Reiber and Marianne Sägebrecht raise their glasses at Oktoberfest 2014. Photo: DPA

Oktoberfest opens to toast millions

Germany's world-famous Oktoberfest kicked off Saturday with the traditional tapping of the first barrel of beer, as millions of revellers are set to soak up the frothy atmosphere in the 16-day annual extravaganza. READ  

Germany plan air lifts to help fight Ebola
A Liberian man holds his daughter as they wait for treatment for suspected Ebola symptoms in Monrovia. Photo: DPA

Germany plan air lifts to help fight Ebola

Germany and France will send military transport planes to West Africa to help efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel and military officials said on Friday. READ  

Germany beefs up asylum rules for Balkans

Germany beefs up asylum rules for Balkans

Germany made it harder Friday for people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia to apply for asylum after lawmakers classified the three Balkan countries as safe, with respect for basic rights. READ  

German Muslims rally against extremism
Muslims pray in Kreuzberg, Berlin, on Friday outside a mosque which was damaged in an arson attack. Photo: DPA

German Muslims rally against extremism

Muslims across Germany held a day of prayers and rallies on Friday to condemn both Islamic extremism and a backlash against their faith that has seen arson attacks on mosques. READ  

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup
The trainers on the air strip in Hohn, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: Bundeswehr.

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup

Military trainers flew to northern Iraq from Germany on Friday, ahead of a huge delivery of weapons from the German military, but things didn’t initially go as planned. READ  

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches
Photo: DPA

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches

UPDATE: Munich will play host to four Euro 2020 games, European football’s governing body Uefa announced in Geneva on Friday, but London was the real winner. READ  

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils
The scene by the bus stop outside the school in Diepholz. Photo: DPA

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils

An 18-year-old drove into a group of students outside a school in western Germany on Friday morning, injuring several. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,361
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd