Turkey Outraged over France and Germany Deadline

Angela Merkel, who had previously proposed the suspension of the negotiations with Turkey, has apparently softened her stance.

Turkey Outraged over France and Germany Deadline

Merkel, who met with the French President Jacques Chirac in Mettlach, Germany on Tuesday, dropped her calls for the deadline and instead called for the bloc to produce a progress report on Turkey's membership bid by spring 2009.

The chancellor, who had backed partial suspension of the membership talks, said the idea of a report was not "an ultimatum."

She underlined that they would continue their efforts to ensure that Turkey opens its ports to Greek Cyprus.

The impact of her proposals backed by Chirac on the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) meeting is eagerly anticipated. If the joint French-German proposal is finalized, the Commission will have to make a separate recommendation before spring 2009. If the ports issue is not resolved by that date, additional penalties will be imposed on Turkey. The EU sources, underlining that Merkel's proposal was vague, noted that its final form would be clarified in the days ahead. Merkel's step back from a clearly defined deadline was interpreted as a retreat. While the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn publicly reacted to the French-German alliance, the United States warned the European Union not to alienate Turkey. At a press conference, Polish Prime Minister Leh Kaczynski expressed full support to Turkey.

Speaking at the same conference, Merkel said: "We do not mean to give an ultimatum to Turkey. The goal is to make Turkey fulfill the responsibility of allowing free trade. There is a proposal referring to the closure of some negotiation files. The final decision on this issue will be made on Dec. 15. We will campaign for the European Commission to draft a report some time between the elections in Turkey in autumn 2007 and the European elections in spring 2009."

"We are not fixing a date but around that time we will see whether Turkey has adopted the Ankara accord," Merkel said. She further stressed that Turkey should realize that the conditions were not toughened. French President Chirac, noting that they discussed Turkey's integration with Europe at the meeting, said, "It is sad that there has been no progress in regards to the Ankara Protocol. Hopefully, there will be positive developments."

Despite Chirac's statement implying that Poland agreed with France and Germany on the matter, Polish Prime Minister Lech Kaczynski gave open support to Turkey. "Poland remains a supporter of Turkey's accession. We uphold that Turkey's membership process should continue without any revision. We want Turkey's admission into the EU. I believe Turkey would resolve its current problems. In addition, Poland asserts that the EU should proceed with Turkey's membership venture in accordance with the criteria it had set up before," Kaczynski said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16