Merkel vows no shift in Turkey policy after ballot
BERLIN – Anadolu Agency
Upon a question during a lengthy election-campaign media grilling July 19, Merkel said her policy on Turkey would not change if she is re-elected.German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that her policy on Turkey will not change if she is elected in the Sept. 22 general elections.
Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) has had long-standing opposition to Turkey joining the EU. Last month she proposed postponing a new round of EU membership talks with Turkey by about four months in an apparent signal of the bloc’s displeasure at the crackdown on the Gezi Park protests.
Upon a question during a lengthy election-campaign media grilling July 19, Merkel said her policy on Turkey would not change if she is re-elected. Merkel noted that she had not talked to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the Gezi Park protests in Turkey but that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had led the process during the incidents.
“I expressed that I was shocked over the latest incidents. I hope the Turkish people will have the chance to use their rights to protest inclusively,” she said, referring to her previous statements. Merkel had said she was shocked by Turkey’s violent crackdown on protests in major cities, saying it “was much too harsh,” when the Gezi incidents first broke out.
“There were horrible images in which one could see that the approach was much too harsh in my view,” Merkel said at the time, adding that what was happening in Turkey did not meet with their ideas of freedom of assembly or freedom of expression.