Turkey’s EU minister has warned that recent differences between Ankara and Berlin over a customs deal should not be allowed to become a Turkey-EU problem.
No country is entitled to instruct wider EU institutions, Omer Celik said on Thursday, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent statement on suspending Turkey-EU talks about updating a customs union deal.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Ankara with British Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan on Thursday, Celik described Merkel’s Wednesday statement as “unfortunate”.
On Wednesday, in an interview with young video bloggers ahead of elections in Germany next month, Merkel signaled that the EU would not enter into talks with Ankara on modernizing an existing customs union, due to recent political tensions.
Turkey has had a customs union agreement with the EU since 1995, and updating it has been a key priority of the Turkish government.
However, Celik warned against allowing a bilateral dispute to become a wider problem. "EU resolutions are determined by principles,” Celik added.
He also warned against individual European leaders making decisions "against the basic mechanisms of the EU".
Merkel’s remarks came after opposition parties increased pressure on the German government, seeking a harsher tone against Turkey, particularly due to the recent arrests in Turkey of around 10 German citizens, including a reporter and a human rights activist, for alleged support for terrorist organizations.
By Nazli Yuzbasioglu