EU Executive Says Turkish Actions Rule Out Membership

EU Executive Says Turkish Actions Rule Out Membership

The actions of the Turkish authorities are making it "impossible" for the country to join the European Union, the EU executive said on Monday (September 4) after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for ending accession talks.

Quoting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker from last week, before Merkel's election campaign comment, EU Commission chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing in Brussels that Turkey was 'taking giant strides away from Europe' and that it was 'making it impossible for Turkey to join the European Union.'

He stressed, however, that any decision on whether to formally halt the long-stalled membership process would be up to the 28 member states of the bloc, not the Brussels executive.

"This (suspension of EU accession talks with Turkey) is a decision for member states to take. We are very concerned with developments as they are unfolding. Our support to Turkey -- and this is again a quote from the (European Commission) President (Jean-Claude Juncker) -- is not unlimited and is not unconditional but has happened in the recent months and we have to be able to reflect on these things calmly,” Schinas said.

Schinas's comments came a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would seek an end to Turkey's membership talks with the European Union in an apparent shift of her position during a televised debate weeks before a German election.

Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz on Monday underlined his call for a stop to the EU accession talks with Turkey, referring to a television debate with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday (September 3), where first said that he would stop Turkey's bid to join the European Union if he was elected leader of Europe's most populous country.

"Therefore I have urged Angela Merkel yesterday to take a position. If I get the majority of Germans behind me and become the chancellor of Germany, then I will ask the European neighbors to stop the accession talks with Turkey," he told SPD supporters at one of Bavaria's oldest fairs, the Gillamooos Fair in Abensberg.

Turkey's European Union Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Monday that any talk of ending his country's negotiations for EU accession amounted to an "attack on Europe's founding principles".

On July 6, the European Parliament called for Turkey's European Union accession talks to be suspended if Ankara fully implements plans to expand President Tayyip Erdogan's powers, in a vote which Turkey dismissed as flawed and wrong.