PM Yıldırım says Turkey not aching for Customs Union update

PM Yıldırım says Turkey not aching for Customs Union update

PM Yıldırım says Turkey not aching for Customs Union update

AA photo

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 18 that Ankara was not pushing for an update of the Customs Union amid an ongoing debate over recent remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting Berlin would not pursue an update of the agreement.

Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers in the capital Ankara, Yıldırım said the Customs Union update is not an issue Germany can decide on unilaterally.

“The Customs Union is not a unilateral agreement. Turkey is not in the mood to suggest to change the Customs Union as soon as possible. Turkey will make a decision according to what its interests require. No matter what happens, we are not in a situation that aches for an update of this Customs Union. They should not worry or get too excited,” Yıldırım said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said Germany is responsible for the latest tension between the two countries.

“Germany has been carrying out its internal political disputes by embroiling Turkey and some other European countries. Germany has fallen into a situation where it has become a country that does not even obey the [accession] acquis of the European Union,” Erdoğan said.

Merkel had stated earlier that Berlin would not pursue an update of the Customs Union with Ankara.

“We are not opening new chapters in Turkey’s [EU] accession bid and we have lowered membership preparation aid to a minimum. Also, for the time being, the Customs Union deal with Turkey will not be changed or updated,” Merkel said. 

The Customs Union between Turkey and the EU came into force on Dec. 31, 1995. It covers all industrial goods but does not address agriculture (apart from processed agricultural products), services or public procurement. 

The European Commission stated on Dec. 21, 2016 that it had asked the European Council for a mandate to launch talks with Turkey to modernize the existing EU-Turkey Customs Union.

The upgrade of the agreement forms a central part of efforts to deepen relations in key areas of joint interest identified at the EU-Turkey Summit of Nov. 29, 2015 and in the EU-Turkey statement of March 18, 2016.