Turkey EU Minister's Comments Spur Angry Reaction From Germany's Merkel

 @AlexCKaufman on June 21 2013 10:03 AM
Turkey
Turkey membership suspended for four months. Reuters/Murad Sezer

Egemen Bağiş doesn’t like criticism.

Turkey’s minister of European Union affairs lambasted the Economist magazine last week for its editorial comparing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a despotic sultan of yore. Now, he has taken to bashing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying she was “appalled” by the police crackdown on protesters in Turkey.

In a statement on Thursday, he said she was blocking a new chapter of negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the EU, because she was “looking for domestic political material for her elections.” By Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle summoned Turkey’s ambassador to complain about Bağiş’s comments.

“Neither the chancellor nor the government are questioning the accession process in any way,” German deputy government spokesman Georg Steiter told Reuters. “We are not talking about ‘whether,’ just about ‘how’ to continue the accession process.”

Germany foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said the Turkish minster’s comments “unacceptable” and stalled accession talks were held up by “unspecified technical reasons”and not the Turkish crackdown.

Join the Discussion