Germany's European Commissioner told the Bild newspaper Tuesday that Turkey would probably not join the European Union while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remains in his post.
"It will probably be an issue for the period after Erdogan," Guenther Oettinger said in an interview with the newspaper. "Given the current conditions, accession is not realistic until well into the next decade," he asserted.
On Sunday German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday he did not see Turkey joining the EU during his own political career, noting that the bloc would not be in a position to accept Turkey even if Ankara met all the entry requirements tomorrow.
Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik slammed German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for saying that he did not see Turkey joining the EU during his political career and describing Gabriel's statement as an expression of "Turkophobic opinions."
Taking to Twitter in response to Gabriel's statement on Monday, Minister Çelik said that Gabriel's statements are not based on objective criteria and cannot reflect the EU's position on Turkey. ''These are Turkophobic opinions. Such opinions make the EU susceptible to serious risks regarding its future,'' Çelik added, going on to say that Turkey has nothing to worry about in the future despite Gabriel's statements, adding, "yet, it would be right to be concerned about the future of the EU."
The minister concluded his remarks saying, ''It is not good for a politician to center his comments around a reference to his own political career. The EU must first judge itself honestly and objectively in a time when discrimination, xenophobia and Islamophobia are rampant. If the EU keeps failing these tests on democracy and pluralism, then Turkey definitely does not want to be a part of it."