German parties say EU may not be able to let Turkey join

BERLIN Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:59am EST

The head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer attend coalition talks with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) at the SPD headquarters in Berlin, November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer attend coalition talks with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) at the SPD headquarters in Berlin, November 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union may not be able to accept Turkey as a member, German parties negotiating a coalition government have said, while making clear the EU's "privileged relationship" with Ankara should be developed further.

In a paper on foreign policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) describe EU membership talks with Turkey as "open-ended". A coalition panel led by Merkel is expected approve the paper on Tuesday.

The wording is slightly tougher than the language in a 2005 coalition contract between the parties. That document, put together shortly after EU membership talks with Turkey began, said Germany had a "special interest" in deepening ties with Turkey and linking it to the EU, without explicitly supporting or rejecting full membership.

Since then, public support in Turkey for joining the EU has slumped and German doubts about Ankara's candidacy have grown, following the Turkish government's crackdown on protests earlier this year.

"If the EU is not in a position to accept (new members) or if Turkey is not able to fully meet the criteria for membership, Turkey should be bound closer to European structures, allowing it to further develop the privileged relationship it enjoys with the EU and Germany," reads the paper, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have long been wary about allowing a largely Muslim country of 76 million people into the EU. But the SPD has supported the idea; talks on Turkey's joining began under Merkel's SPD predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder.

Earlier this month, Turkey and the EU began a new round of membership negotiations. The start of the talks had been delayed since June, after Germany and several other EU governments blocked them. They cited Ankara's response to the protests, when six people were killed and 8,000 injured.

"The talks that began in 2005 with the goal of membership are an open-ended process, with no automatism and a result that cannot be guaranteed beforehand," the coalition document reads.

(This story has been refiled to added dropped letter in first paragraph)

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Larry King)

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Comments (2)
Mylena wrote:
I think they got what they were looking for. This is a new world with rules respected by everyone. Country that does not understand the concept of union and agreement, does not deserve to be a part of this. So, it is not discrimination, it is just the result of attitudes and decisions that have not place in 2013.

Nov 19, 2013 9:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
KyleDexter wrote:
@ the nation of Turkey, why would you want to join a sinking ship??
Look eastward……

Nov 19, 2013 10:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
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