Merkel, Schulz clash on policy in pre-election TV duel

Chancellor defends maintaining dialogue with Ankara, her rival demands an immediate stop to Turkey’s EU membership talks

Merkel, Schulz clash on policy in pre-election TV duel

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her centre-left rival Martin Schulz clashed over Germany’s Turkey policy in a televised debate Sunday night, three weeks ahead of the September 24th general elections.

The Social Democrat Party (SPD) leader Schulz called for a tougher line on Turkey, and in a surprise move, suggested immediately stopping Ankara’s EU membership talks, and freezing €4 billion ($4.68 billion) pre-accession funds.

“If I would become the Chancellor, I would stop Turkey’s EU membership talks,” he said, amid escalating tensions between Germany and Turkey.

Schulz had long advocated Turkey’s EU membership, but signalled a policy charge in recent weeks, after recent polls revealed a considerable decline in support to his SPD.

The top chancellor candidates went into the debate on Sunday night, with polls showing Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc (CDU/CSU) was likely to gain 38 percent of votes in the September 24 elections, while the SPD was polled at 24 percent.

 

Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2017, 10:31
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