Merkel says EU summit should discuss Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel [EPA/CLEMENS BILAN]

EU-Turkey relations have been severely hit by actions taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today (27 April).

“The developments over the past weeks have severely hit German-Turkish ties as well as European-Turkish relations,” she told parliament, saying in particular that Ankara’s arrest and treatment of German newspaper correspondent Deniz Yucel was “incompatible with a constitutional state”.

The journalist for Die Welt daily, a German-Turkish national, was jailed in February on terror charges and is awaiting trial.

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Angela Merkel has called the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel “disappointing” but will still proceed cautiously in order to not jeopardise the EU-Turkey refugee deal. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

He is being held in solitary confinement and Germany has been allowed to make only one consular visit so far.

Merkel also voiced concerns that the 16 April referendum on expanding Erdoğan’s powers was not held under fair conditions.

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Turkey’s election authority rejected opposition requests on Wednesday (19 April) to cancel a referendum that boosted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authority as police detained activists over street protests following the contested poll.

Warning Turkey to respect civil rights in keeping with a constitutional state, Merkel said it was “neither in Europe nor Turkey’s interest” for either side to turn away from the other.

“We will work towards returning to dialogue,” she said.

Merkel said she would also use a summit with fellow EU leaders in Brussels on Saturday to discuss “which measures would be appropriate” for the bloc to take vis-a-vis Turkey.

Relations between NATO allies Germany and Turkey have plunged over disputes related to last July’s failed coup and a subsequent crackdown on alleged conspirators.

The row deepened after Germany and the Netherlands blocked campaign events by Turkish ministers in March ahead of the referendum vote.

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Turkey on Monday (13 March) said it was suspending top-level ties with The Netherlands and blocking the return of its ambassador in a spiralling crisis over the holding of rallies abroad ahead of a crucial referendum.

In an angry response, Erdoğan accused both countries of using “Nazi” methods, sparking consternation especially in Berlin.

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Germany angrily warned Turkey yesterday (19 March) that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone too far after he accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of using “Nazi measures” in an escalating diplomatic feud.

Immediately after winning the nail-biting vote that boosted his powers, Erdoğan mooted a second referendum on bringing back the death penalty, which would mean an end to the country’s EU membership prospects.

Mogherini on Turkey: 'No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty'

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stressed on Monday (18 July) that “no country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty”, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that the country should reintroduce capital punishment after last week’s attempted coup.

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