Stop Turkey’s EU accession, say some German parties, but leftists and Brussels not so sure

Erdogan in Ankara after his AK Party (narrowly) won the municipal election

Gerda Hasselfeldt, Berlin regional leader of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister-party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, tried to calm the waters – even before they were disturbed.

On Monday evening (31.03.2014), her party’s general secretary, Andreas Scheuer, had called for the negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the European Union to be stopped. “It is becoming clear that Erdogan’s Turkey does not belong to Europe,” he said in Munich. “A country in which the government threatens its critics and tramples democratic values cannot belong to Europe.”

The most that the EU should offer Turkey, he said, was “privileged partner” status, before adding that the CSU was calling on anyone who had campaigned for Turkey’s full EU membership, “to finally renounce that decision and join the CSU’s objections.”

This remark was aimed at the Social Democratic Party and the Greens. Merkel, like her partners the CSU, is in favor of a privileged partnership for Turkey rather than full membership.
Germany’s other major parties – the SPD, Greens, and the socialist Left party – did not initially respond to Scheuer’s statements.

Media personnel run as riot police use water cannon to disperse any stray protesters outside the Supreme Electoral Council in Ankara on April 1

Turkey is certainly on the current political agenda all over Europe.  In his victory speech Sunday night after local elections across the country, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that he would pursue his opponents “to their last hiding places.” His enemies, he said, would have to “pay the price” for the accusations and criticisms of the past few months.

Rolf Mützenich, deputy chairman of the SPD’s parliamentary group, said in a newspaper interview that Erdogan’s threats “did not fit into the image of a modern Turkey.” It would be necessary, Mützenich added, to raise the issues of basic rights and freedom of expression in the EU accession talks.

CDU foreign policy spokesman Philipp Missfelder also expressed his concern: “The relationship to the NATO partners is difficult because we need Turkey as an important ally, but we can’t observe with indifference the developments in the country.”

It is up to EU leaders in Brussels to decide on Turkey’s accession. The negotiations, which began in 2005, were only just picked again last autumn, following a three-year hiatus…

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn also told Germany’s “Tagesspiegel” newspaper that “we can’t simply accept” when there are major differences on basic values between the EU and Turkey.  And yet he did not agree with Scheuer’s argument that talks should be terminated

Google has also expressed its own concerns. The California-based Internet giant said it has received several indications that Ankara is diverting the searches of Turkey’s Google users. Turkey also took administrative action to ban the Google-owned video site YouTube…

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If the EU does not stop these accession talks now, it has lost every shred of credibility. The leftists parties in Germany are no better–although they are likely vote-whoring. The very conservative Islamic Turks in Germany vote left–for the goodies–just as they do in the UK.

But if things are bad now with EU migrants, what would it be like if Turkey joined?

This just in: Turkey outlaws ‘platform’ and ‘council’ from association names: Turkish activists will now have to play “taboo” when naming a new association. Authorities have forbidden the use of a number of words, including “platform” and “council,” in the names of associations and NGOs in the aftermath of last year’s Gezi protests, according to the statement from the Istanbul provincial directorate of associations.

Throughout the last months, many activists that applied to found their own association were warned by the directorate that they were unable to pick what seemed at first glance like neutral words describing the intrinsic nature of their group, such as platform, council, chamber, or even institute.