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EUROPE > Merkel tells Turkey democratic values 'non-negotiable' for EU

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a speech at the Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) on June 27 in Berlin. AFP Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a speech at the Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) on June 27 in Berlin. AFP Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned yesterday that democratic values were non-negotiable in light of the crackdown on Gezi protesters, as she welcomed an agreement to reopen talks with Turkey about joining the European Union.

The European side “did not pretend that nothing had happened” in its recent talks with Turkey, she said, referring to the tough response by Turkish government against Gezi protesters.

The outcome of the EU talks with Ankara “makes clear that Turkey is an important partner,” she told Parliament. “But our European values, the freedom to demonstrate, the freedom of speech, the rule of law, the freedom of religion, they always apply. They are non-negotiable for us.”

The European Union agreed this week to open a new chapter with Turkey but postponed negotiations until after the presentation of the annual progress report in October. Ireland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said EU ministers agreed to resume membership talks with Turkey after a three-year break, but that a date to kick off the negotiations would not be announced until the fall.

Merkel said she was “shocked” last week, adding that “what is happening in Turkey at the moment does not mesh with our ideas of freedom of assembly.”

Germany’s Foreign Ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to explain Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış’s accusations that Merkel was exploiting Turkey for domestic political gain ahead of the September elections. Bağış had said that if Merkel is looking for “internal political material” then “it should not be Turkey.”
In response to Germany’s response to these comments, Turkey summoned the German ambassador.

Merkel’s conservative party has again reiterated its long-standing opposition to Turkey joining the European Union in its election program this week.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), in its program for the Sept. 22 elections, stressed it wanted deeper ties because of the “strategic and economic importance of Turkey for Europe as well as the varied people-to-people relations.” But it reiterated that “we reject full membership because [Turkey] does not meet the conditions for joining the EU. Also, given the size of the country and its economic structure, the European Union would be overwhelmed.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu thanked his Irish counterpart Eamon Gilmore for his cooperation on the opening of Chapter 22 in a telephone conversation. Ireland is the current holder of the rotating EU presidency.

June/27/2013

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READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Ken Alden

7/7/2013 6:05:31 PM

@Chris, you start by "your election 2024" if you referring to the turkish elections, I'm neither a Turk or vote there but I do like Turkish, Jewish, English, German & Greek people paticularly among others. Sometimes I understand them better than they do themselves, because I"m not hobbled by National Pride. Politicians & Politics come & go, the daily life of Populus keeps it own pace irregardles. Right now, politics aside,Turkey,Belgium & Britain are the ones that grasp value otrade with Asia!

Chris Green

7/7/2013 10:37:40 AM

Ken: I look forward to your elections in 2014, but more particularly so those of 2015 and to observe the outcome. Equally, I look forward to the EU elections next year where, in the UK, the UKIP (UK Independence Party) are expected to clean up! Equally, the General Election in the UK in 2015 will be of equal importance for the outcome will decide if we are finally to have a referendum on our own EU membership and already here this is not, politically at least, a minor skirmish! Parallels indeed.

Ken Alden

7/7/2013 5:54:39 AM

Ch.Green - Every election is a referrendum, Turkeu may surprise you, like the 1950 Election that gave Turkey, multi Cammeral Parlament as well as multi-party system. Ismet Inenue, succesor to K.Attaturk ruled the country singlehanded from 1938, deemed it fit to introduce a multiparty system and stepped aside when he lost the election. Turkish politicians and Soldiers are urks firstin that calling and when time comes, that will be the deceiding factor.The EU issues arejust plain minor skirmishes!

Chris Green

7/5/2013 1:20:12 PM

Ken Alden: I completely agree with your point about the will of the Turkish people being heard. But I wonder, if it ever gets to the stage where the people are offered a referendum on the EU, whether or not the vote is in favour or otherwise! This question will not be answered for a very, very long time. I enjoyed your self-cooking lobster analogy! :-)

Ken Alden

7/5/2013 2:20:59 AM

Chris Green - Any and all changes in Turkey, must come as a free will of Turkish People! It should not be to please EU, USA or any other entety. On the other hand, Turkey can have an overnight acceptance if the Entire Nation, en masse, converts to Cristanity but for that we will have to wait untill the Lobsters learn how to cook and serve-up themselfs to the guests! If you need proofSlovenia, Croatia, Serbia, e.t.c. are in! Hardly a word about Albania or Bosnia, majority Moslem Balkan countries!

Chris Green

7/3/2013 5:00:12 PM

Ken: You misread my post. I said 360 degree VISION! A 360 degree turn by definition implies going around in circles. I agree with your contributions to a degree (not 360) in many ways, however there is a strong case for considering a change in leadership, for the current PM risks smashing the stalls in the global çarşı that Turkey be a central part of.

Ken Alden

7/3/2013 2:50:27 PM

@Dear Ms. Maerkel, As the anciednt Moslem Schollar, Philosopher and Thinker of 13th Century, ibn Khaldun, who in his times also greatrly influenced Philosophers, Historians and thinkers not only in Islam but Worldwide, observed that "Tribes form into Nations, when there is a universal and unconditonal will to become a a Nation" ! So is the march of Democracy in the Islamic World, ever since the "Arab Spring", it continues, as evidenced by current events! Please have patience Ms. Bundeskanzler!

Ken Alden

7/3/2013 1:55:14 PM

@Ch.Green, thr 360 turn would bring Turkey to the olden times, that's no go, "The sick Man on Boxphorus" is now healthy and doing Well, extremelly Well! Ms. Maerkel is grasping at every piece straw, to preserve German-French in captive market known as EU! Asia minor, thusTurkey, is one of the most valuable Geopolitical Real Estate on planet Earth. Shoulc ghd awakening China's ideas of massproduction & marketting concept take foothold at EU's doors, the captive market will certainly disintegrate

hanni bal

7/3/2013 1:52:07 PM

the fox and and little red riding hood.

Chris Green

7/3/2013 10:59:03 AM

Ken: Historically, even before the Republic of Turkey was born (1923) Istanbul was a node point and trading point for the known world at the time. Since then, I believe a 360 degree vision is applicable to Turkey's position currently and therefore locking into a Federation of Member States under the uber-kontrol of Germany is to blinker the wider vision, whereas a trade deal, amongst other things, is logical. Trade at all costs, but not at any price and EU membership carries a price tag.
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