‘Stop, don’t pause!’ Top German politicians call for end to EU-Turkey talks

‘Stop, don’t pause!’ Top German politicians call for end to EU-Turkey talks
Bavaria’s interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, has said talks on Ankara’s accession to the EU should be immediately put to an end, not just paused.

“We have to stop kidding ourselves: There are no common perspectives with the Turkey of Erdogan,” he said.

“I have always strongly rejected EU membership for Turkey,” Herrmann, who is a member of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, said in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

“It is high time for the EU to end the accession negotiations with Turkey. Do not pause or suspend. Stop! We have to stop kidding ourselves: There are no common perspectives with the Turkey of Erdogan,” he stressed.

Norbert Roettgen, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has also warned that failure to address the results of Turkey’s referendum will only harm Europe.

“We would damage the credibility of Europe if we failed to respond to Turkey’s decision against democracy, against the rule of law... if we continue to hold fast to the fiction of accession for a country with such a government and such a constitution,” Roettgen told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, as cited by Reuters.

Pretending that Ankara could someday join the EU will prevent Europe from building new, constructive ties with Turkey, Roettgen said.

Membership for Turkey in the EU seems almost unrealistic, given the degree of political bickering between its government and certain European capitals, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said last month.

“Turkey is now further away from EU membership than ever before,” Gabriel told Der Spiegel in mid-March.

Last Sunday, Turks voted to scrap the post of prime minister and concentrate power exclusively in the hands of the country’s president. The April 16 vote saw an 85 percent turnout, with 51.4 percent voting for constitutional changes giving the Turkish leader the go-ahead to appoint and fire ministers, name half the members of Turkey’s highest judicial body, hold the leadership of a political party while in office, and lead the country for 12 years if he wins future elections.

Challenging the results of Turkey’s referendum is well beyond the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Erdogan stated on Thursday, stressing that the issue is “over.” He also said the decision of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) to reject the referendum annulment requests filed by a number of opposition parties and ordinary citizens is final and cannot be challenged by any other institution.

Thousands of angry people took to the streets of Istanbul on April 17 to protest the referendum result and marched through the city’s Besiktas neighborhood on Monday evening, chanting “No, we won.”

About 2,000 people waving red banners reading “The ‘No’ is not finished” took to the streets in Istanbul’s Asian quarter, Kadikoy, shouting “We are shoulder to shoulder against fascism.

It’s possible that some 2.5 million Turkish votes were “manipulated” to change the results of the referendum, an international observer that monitored the Turkish referendum told ORF radio following the vote.

Alev Korun, an Austrian MP and member of the Council of Europe’s observer mission, said that there is “a suspicion that up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated,” as cited by Reuters.

Korun also slammed the Turkish electoral authorities’ decision to accept around 1.5 million unstamped ballots and envelopes as valid.

“Actually, the law only allows official voting envelopes. The highest election authority decided however, as it were against the law, that envelopes without official stamp should be admitted,” he said.