German expert:

EU unlikely to stop Turkey’s EU accession talks

News ID: 4088038 -
TEHRAN, Sep. 16 (MNA) – Touching upon the recent tensions between Turkey and Germany, Cornelius Adebahr in an interview with Mehr News agency says the EU is unlikely to formally freeze the accession talks with Turkey.

Recently the tensions between Ankara and Berlin has risen. President Erdogan’s call to German Turks not to vote for German main political parties in incoming election faced wide reaction by German politicians and officials.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel couple of days ago in a surprise remarks in her first televised electoral campaign vowed to stop Turkey’s EU accession talks.

A day after Merkel’s remarks, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini talking to Turkish FM at Bled Strategic Forum said that talks with Turkey as EU important partner will continue.

Merkel’s spokesperson also on Sep. 5 said that no decision would be made on Turkey before election in Germany.

To shed more light on the ongoing tensions between two countries, Payman Yazdani from Mehr News agency reached out to Dr. Cornelius Adebahr, Associated Fellow, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies.

Merkel has always been among the politicians defending talks with Tukey, why did she talked about freezing Turkey’s EU accession talks?

Martin Schulz, the social-democrat candidate for chancellor and an even stauncher supporter of Turkey’s EU membership, challenged Angela Merkel during the TV debate by announcing that he would put an end to the accession talks. So she actually reacted quite quickly during the debate by hardening her position without actually changing it.
 
Considering her spokesperson's remarks just two days after her sharp remarks, maybe in a bid to take her words back, can we say Merkel made those remarks just for election campaign as many believe the relation between Turkey and Germany will improve after the election in Germany?

Few people believe that Turkish-German relations will improve anytime soon. In fact, from a growing general mistrust to very specific bones of contention - incarcerated journalists in Turkey, Turkish officials seeking asylum in Germany, death threats to German politicians of Turkish origin, and harassment of dual citizens by Turkish authorities - there’s little prospect of a thaw regardless of who will be the next Chancellor in Berlin.

Can Erdogan’s request from German Turks affect the result of the election in Germany?

President Erdogan’s prompt to Turkish-German citizens not to vote for certain parties is not expected to have a great effect with voters. However, it is an unprecedented act of interference in another country’s domestic affairs, and thus an expression of the lack of trust between the two countries.

Considering the fact that both countries are NATO members, what will be the possible Turkey’s reaction to possible freezing of EU accession talks with Turkey? Can such a possible decision from EU and Germany affect EU security and energy security?

The EU is unlikely to formally freeze the accession talks with Turkey, because it is Turkey that wants to become an EU member. If Turkey continues to backslide in terms of democracy and rule of law, the talks will simply not advance further. Ending them is more of symbolic value and would probably provide President Erdogan with ammunition for his nationalist-Islamist course. That said, economic relations - in particular energy trade - are not necessarily directly affected by this decision.

If Germany decides to stop talks with Turkey, will other EU members follow its decison?

Germany cannot stop the talks by itself, nor can any single EU country, for that matter. There would have to be a unanimous decision by all 28 members to do so. This is highly unlikely under the current circumstances. Turkey, in contrast, could unilaterally declare an end to the talks; however, it is also unlikely to do so, as it would leave the blame with President Erdogan and would rob the opportunity of him to blame the Europeans for allegedly mistreating Turkey.

Interview by Payman Yazdani
 

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