Posted on June 1, 2005

Verheugen Says to Merkel: Withdraw from Turkey!

Zaman (Istanbul), May 29

European Commission Vice President Gunther Verheugen warned German Christian Democrat Union Party (CDU) leader Angela Merkel not to use Turkey’s membership in the European Union (EU) as a campaign gimmick for possible early elections in Germany.

In his statement, Verheugen made to German Newspaper ‘Welt am Sontag’, he indicated that Turkey’s membership was not on the agenda now and advised the German CDU Leader Angela Merkel to withdraw from Turkey’s EU membership issue. Saying that the EU decided unanimously about the start of Turkey’s membership negotaitions, Verheugen said unanimity was again needed to abolish this decision. Verheugen pointed out that even if Merkel now behaved as if she could reverse this decision, it would be ‘the first promise that she will not keep’ after possible early elections.

Emphasizing that Turkey’s EU bid should not be used as a campaign gimmick and that it should be handled seriously, the Parliamentary Group President of the German Free Democrat Party Wolfgang Gerhardt said, ‘I am in favor of Turkey’s getting closer to the West’.

Another EU support came from the US to Ankara. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that the EU’s rejection of Turkey’s membership might yield serious results and said, ‘ We cannot compensate for the division between Turkey and the rest of Europe’. Noting that Turkey’s rejection would be considered as a ‘clash of civilizations’, Rice stressed that this would be ‘a terrible thing’.