• Germany's news in English
 
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

"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
'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP
Edathy preparing to face questions in Berlin Photo: DPA

'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP

A former rising star of German politics who resigned after pictures of naked children were allegedly found on his official laptop said Thursday what he did was "wrong, but legal." READ  

This week in history
A Brandt name to relaunch a country
Willy Brandt being sworn into office in 1972 Photo: DPA

A Brandt name to relaunch a country

We know him as Willy Brandt - but that was just a pseudonym the former chancellor took to avoid the Nazis. READ  

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find
A similar bomb defused in Potsdam in September 2013. Photo: DPA

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find

Local authorities evacuated some 10,000 people from central Potsdam after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found on a building site. READ  

Sunny outlook for business this winter
Photo: DPA

Sunny outlook for business this winter

German business confidence rose in December on the back of falling oil prices and a weak euro, the Ifo economic institute said Thursday, as the prospects for Europe's biggest economy grew sunnier. READ  

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'
Photo: DPA

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Thursday that sanctions against Russia remain "unavoidable" until Ukraine regains its sovereignty and independence. READ  

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence
Photo: DPA

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence

Germany and Dortmund football star Marco Reus was hit by a €540,000 fine Thursday, after state prosecutors in Dortmund confirmed he has been driving for years without a licence. READ  

British and German troops relive Xmas truce
Soldiers in World War One period uniforms watch the football match. Photo: DPA

British and German troops relive Xmas truce

Teams from the British and German armies played a friendly football game in Aldershot on Wednesday in memory of the Christmas truce of 1914. READ  

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Photo: DPA

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba

Berlin has welcomed the thaw in US-Cuban relations partly brokered in secret by Pope Francis at the Vatican. READ  

American guilty of killing Hamburg student
Diren Dede's grieving parents outside the court in Missoula Photo: DPA

American guilty of killing Hamburg student

A US court has found a man who shot and killed 17-year old German exchange student Diren Dede guilty of deliberate homicide. READ  

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016
Photo: DPA

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016

After months of bickering among the coalition parties, the cabinet finally agreed to put a road toll for foreigners before parliament, but open questions about its financial viability and legality remain. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
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

3,174
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd