As relations between Turkey and Germany remain tense, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that expansion of the customs union agreement between Turkey and the EU will not be discussed for the time being.
As Hürriyet Daily News reported, Merkel said on Wednesday (August 16), “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”.
Prior to Merkel’s firm statements, Germany’s FM Sigmar Gabriel had asserted that the economic pressure imposed on Turkey was ‘giving results’.
Merkel also noted that their warnings to Turkey, including the travel warnings, ‘have gotten Turkey thinking’ but added they were ‘not enough’.
“We have differing opinions on various subjects and we do not shy away from voicing these differences in our continuing dialogues… We have not been able to convince each other on many issues and other problems have been added on top of those.
Our relations are going through a tough period but we should continue dialogue,” she said and added: “We cannot ignore the fact that Turkey is not only [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and his government. Almost 50 percent said ‘No’ to the recent constitutional changes and they have expectations from us. We must continue the hard bargaining and not engage in wrong deals. But we cannot also send wrong signals to that 50 percent that have their hopes in us and want to be in dialogue with us”.