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Conservatives blast Westerwelle over Turkey EU bid

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Conservatives blast Westerwelle over Turkey EU bid
Westerwelle with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo: DPA
10:25 CEST+02:00
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has angered conservatives in his own government coalition this week by keeping open the possibility of full European Union membership for Turkey.

The Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, demanded on Friday that Westerwelle take a stronger and clearer stance that Turkey should remain a “privileged partner” of Europe, rather than a full member.

In the Turkish capital Ankara this week, Westerwelle called for “an open-ended process, which is not an automatic process” towards Turkey’s membership.

“Turkey's direction is Europe ... We place great importance on deepening mutual ties and binding Turkey to Europe,” he said.

Westerwelle effectively kept open the idea of Turkey’s future EU membership and avoided using the term “privileged partner,” which the conservatives prefer.

The debate follows British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remark this week that he was “angry” over the slow pace of Turkey's accession talks, declaring himself the country's “strongest possible advocate for EU membership.”

Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of the CSU told daily Der Tagesspiegel’s Friday edition that it was “all very well to offer the insight that Turkey is not ready for admission and that they EU is not ready to accept” them.

But one should not “against better wisdom cling onto an open-ended process that cannot produce results in reality.”

This was rather “the time to say to Turkey that further discussions only make sense if they are conducted with the eventual goal of becoming a privileged partner.”

Talk of an open-ended process was just empty diplomatic speech “to which you can’t fasten anything,” Dobrindt said.

It was less damaging, by comparison, to “show fairness to the Turkish partners,” by being upfront, he said.

“The realistic view has to be expressed,” he said.

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