German chancellor Angela Merkel comes out against Turkey's European Union membership bid

Jerome Frank
September 4, 2017

The moment was all the more dramatic because by being the first to pledge ending accession talks, Mr Schulz broke with an SPD tradition in which the party has always been more positive about Ankara's European Union bid than Ms Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.

Merkel has repeatedly said she was "angered" by the auto sector's transgressions and demanded more "honesty and transparency" in future.

Ms Merkel balanced her newfound hard line over accession with promises to maintain dialogue with Turkey, not least over the 12 detained Germans.

The 90-minute session - the only such debate of the campaign - featured an entirely civil exchange of ideas between Germany's leader for the past dozen years and the man who wants her job, Martin Schulz.

On North Korea, which conducted its sixth nuclear test early Sunday, she said that "peaceful resolution is the only way forward" - a clear departure from Trump's position that all options, military included, are on the table. The plunge in bilateral relations began after Germany sharply criticised Ankara over the crackdown that followed 2016's failed coup attempt there.

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The escalating tensions have split the Turkish community in Europe's top economy, the largest diaspora overseas, which is a legacy of Germany's "guest worker" programme of the 1960s and 70s.

Although polls taken afterwards showed Merkel had prevailed, Schulz's efforts weren't entirely wasted: Before the debate, 60 percent of respondents in a poll for broadcaster ZDF said they would rather have Merkel as chancellor, compared to 33 percent for Schulz. However, according to the quick poll by Infratest dimap after the debate, about 55 per cent respondents believed that Merkel was more convincing, against 35 per cent of that of Schulz.

Schulz accused Merkel of failing to coordinate plans with European Union neighbours when she made a decision to open Germany's borders in 2015 to allow in refugees, many from war-torn Syria and Iraq.

Merkel responded: "We had a very dramatic situation then.There are times in the life of a chancellor when she has to decide".

She said this during the TV debates before the election of the Federal Chancellor of Germany. "People who don't have the right to be in our country should leave it - people have already been deported", said Merkel, defending her open-door immigration policy, calling for fighting the causes of such crises, like the violence in Syria.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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