Gulnur Aybet Says Merkel Bending to Populism With EU Accession Threat
Giriş: 6.9.2017 03:08:59 - Güncelleme:

Gulnur Aybet Says Merkel Bending to Populism With EU Accession Threat


A top adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed “populist” exchanges during Germany’s election campaign after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’ll urge European Union leaders to decide whether to suspend or end Turkey’s accession to the bloc.




The Turkish lira and bonds dropped on Tuesday as Merkel told the lower house of parliament in Berlin that she’ll bring up the future of Turkey’s bid to join the EU with fellow leaders in October, raising the prospect of a formal end to Turkish accession. Her comments expanded on remarks she made on Sunday in a televised debate with her main election challenger, Martin Schulz, when both candidates criticized Erdogan.


German politicians are using Turkey as political fodder to win votes in the Sept. 24 federal election, according to Gulnur Aybet, a senior adviser to Erdogan on foreign policy.


“Obviously populist banter in which candidates vie with each other over who can bash Turkey more effectively sells better in German politics than the real issues concerning the EU, like Brexit,” Aybet said in emailed remarks to Bloomberg.


Hostile Relations


While EU talks with Turkey are effectively stalled, the escalating rhetoric risks further stoking tensions with Erdogan who has made repeated references to Germany’s Nazi past and said that Germany is becoming “racist.”


Relations between Turkey and its largest trading partner turned hostile after Turkey arrested a German-Turkish journalist in February and Germany refused to allow Turkish ministers to campaign for expatriate Turks’ votes before a referendum in April that expanded Erdogan’s powers. Germany moved its troops from the Incirlik air base to Jordan after Turkey refused to allow visits by German lawmakers.


In her speech to lower-house lawmakers, Merkel referred to further arrests of German nationals in Turkey and said that her government will push at all levels for their release.


“I will recommend that we discuss the future status of Turkey, including whether to suspend or end” membership talks, Merkel added. “This is a process that needs to be considered resolutely, but also carefully.”


Lira Slips


The Turkish lira slipped 0.3 percent to 3.4448 per dollar at 1:47 p.m. in Istanbul, after sliding as much as 0.4 percent earlier in the day. The benchmark stock index declined as much as 1 percent during the morning trading, the most since Aug. 23. Ten-year government bond yields rose four basis points to 10.66 percent at 1:54 p.m.


“Germany is not the EU. No matter what disagreements it has with Turkey, the EU doesn’t want to lose Turkey,” Aybet said. “Turkey is not just a candidate but also a strategic partner for EU.”



Merkel warned that EU leaders must deliberate over Turkey carefully so as not to display any differences in public as Erdogan looks on. The chancellor last week pledged to respond “more decisively” to Erdogan’s government after two more German citizens were taken into custody.



Merkel, whose party officially opposes Turkish membership in the EU, said she has always pursued talks with the government in Ankara according to the principle of “pacta sunt servanda,” meaning agreements must be kept.


With assistance by Taylan Bilgic

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