• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue
Call me maybe: The Berlin-Moscow hot-line has been busy. Photo: DPA

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue

"If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?" If you're Vladimir Putin, growing ever more isolated among his G8 peers, it's Angela Merkel, say the Kremlin hot-line stats. READ  

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad
A Belgian "suicide kit" including the commonly-used drug sodium pentothal. Photo: DPA

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad

A study revealed today that more people traveled to Switzerland to undergo assisted dying from Germany than from any other country in 2012. READ  

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires. READ  

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos
The Bamberg Clinic, where alleged abuse was reported. Photo: DPA

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos

Police in Bavaria have arrested a 48-year-old doctor for allegedly drugging and raping medical test volunteers, media reported Thursday. READ  

German of the Week
Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king
Rolf Buchholz, world's most pierced man. Photo: Caro von D Photografie

Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king

The world's most-pierced man, Rolf Buchholz, was just deported from Dubai, for fear of 'black magic', he says. But as shocking as many people find his body modifications, it is a genuine passion, our German of the Week explains. And who knows, he may just enchant you yet. READ  

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'
State minister for culture and media Monika Grütters. Photo: DPA

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'

A German minister on Wednesday threw her weight behind the authors battling US online retail giant Amazon over its alleged strong-arm negotiating tactics with publishers. READ  

Opposition calls for arms export debate
Photo: DPA

Opposition calls for arms export debate

Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is calling for a special session of parliament following Wednesday's announcement that Germany will break its rules and deliver weapons to an active conflict zone. READ  

Families find solace and help with seniors
Photo: DPA

Families find solace and help with seniors

When Verena Herz found out she was pregnant with twins, she had no idea what she was in for. Luckily, she was able to borrow a grandmother. The Local learns the advantages of welcoming a new grandparent into the family and why Omas and Opas say: "I tell everybody about it!" READ  

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech
Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the 2014 Lindau meetings. Photo: DPA

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened an economics conference in Lindau, Bavaria, with a call for more regulation of so-called shadow banks. READ  

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure
A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst's main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of empty shops. Photo: Tomas Urbina

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure

Home to two-thirds of Germany's population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local's Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
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

3,365
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd