Party Underlines European Union Opposition to Turkey

The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), June 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

Party Underlines European Union Opposition to Turkey


BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc is stressing its opposition to Turkey joining the European Union in its manifesto for German elections in September, arguing the country doesn't fulfill the conditions to join.

The language was unveiled as Turkey's government faces international scrutiny for its crackdown on widespread protests, but the stance is in line with the long-held views of Merkel's party.

The program approved Sunday calls for deepening relations between Ankara and the EU and for "close strategic cooperation" on foreign and security policy.

"However, we reject full membership for Turkey because it does not fulfill the conditions for EU accession," it said. "In view of the country's size and economic structure, the European Union also would be overburdened."

Merkel has in the past talked of seeking a vaguely defined "privileged partnership" with Ankara, but the brief passage on Turkey in her Christian Democrats' manifesto didn't mention the term.

"We have learned that Turkey doesn't want it," Merkel told reporters. "So we described our aims differently."

Merkel governs in a coalition with a party that is less skeptical toward Turkey's bid, as are all her other conceivable coalition partners after the Sept. …

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