Merkel's possible coalition partners divided over EU's Ankara ties

Published 26.10.2017 00:28

The differences in opinion regarding Turkey-EU relations have stood out in the exploratory talks to form a coalition in Germany, signaling that the parties need to find a compromise on the issue in order to form the Jamaica coalition.Following the elections in Sept. 24, Angela Merkel secured a fourth term as chancellor and she picked up the pace to forming a coalition government, starting exploratory talks with possible coalition partners.

In recent talks between the Christian Democrat Union/Christian Social Union CDU/CSU, the Free Democrat Party (FDP) and the Greens, named the "Jamaica Coalition" because the colors of the three parties match the national flag of Jamaica, Turkey-EU relations were on the agenda.

Andreas Scheuer, general secretary of the CSU, the sister part of Merkel's CDU, stated that they do not favor Turkey's membership to the EU and demand the end of negotiations. Scheuer said that they will bring up the issue during the talks on Thursday.

Similarly commenting on Turkey-EU talks, Alexander Dobrint, a CSU politician also stressed that as a party they have a firm stance on the issue and added that regarding the current circumstances "it is clear that Turkey will not be a full member."

While the CSU insists on ending Turkey's EU talks, the Greens party has been voicing opposition to such a decision. Michael Kellner, the general secretary of the Greens, stated that there is a clear division of opinion on the issue related to Turkey and added that "as the Green party we consider ending negotiations with Turkey would definitely be a wrong signal."

Cem Özdemir, the co-chair of the Greens, also opposed the suggestions to end the talks with Turkey.

"In spite of all the negative incidents, the negotiations between EU and Turkey cannot be ended," Claudia Roth, a politician from the Greens, stated.

During its run-up to elections both the German ruling government and the opposition agreed on a hardline policy toward Turkey, promising to end Turkey's EU bid. In a televised speech in September with her rival Martin Schulz, Merkel promised to discuss the future of the relations and suspending or ending Turkey's EU talks at the EU meeting in October.

In order to end Turkey's EU talks, a unanimous decision by the EU member states is required. While countries such as Belgium and Austria are in favor of strict steps against Turkey, some other European countries agree to keep the dialogue door open to Ankara and favor a more rational stance.

Meanwhile in the EU summit last week, ending Turkey's EU negotiations was dropped from the agenda; instead Merkel suggested to reduce the pre-accession funds to Turkey and pointed out that dialogue with Ankara should be maintained, signaling a softer tone toward Turkey.

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