Merkel crushes Turkey’s hopes to join the EU any time soon—if ever

Image: Reuters/Damir Sagolj
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German chancellor Angela Merkel killed Turkey’s hopes of becoming a member of the European Union any time soon. In a crucial TV debate against her rival Martin Schulz on German networks, she said “the fact is clear that Turkey should not become an EU member.”

However, she added that she didn’t want to break off diplomatic relations with the country, even if she wants to reject Turkey’s EU membership bid. Her hardline views on Turkey and the EU actually helped her to become victorious at the end of the debate:

Her comments fell in line with her rival ahead of the German elections later this month. Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats, took a hardline approach when the subject of Turkey came up in the TV debate, which was broadcast simultaneously on four channels in Germany. He said that if he became chancellor, he’d cancel all negotiations with Turkey over its bid to join the 28-nation bloc.

Turkey has been negotiating its membership with the EU for 12 years. However, talks have hit a wall after a number of EU leaders hardened their criticism of president Tayyip Erdoğan. In November 2016, the EU voted to suspend talks with Turkey after Erdogan launched  brutal crackdown on citizens following a failed coup.

The country arrested 12 German citizens in recent months, claiming they were being held under political charges.