German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it would appear to be impossible for Turkey to become a European Union member in the near future, pointing to the country’s backsliding in freedom of thought, freedom of the press and religious freedoms, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Friday.
Speaking with students at the German School in Athens, Merkel underlined that while Turkey’s membership negotiations have come to a halt, breaking them off completely could prove more detrimental.
Merkel stressed the uncertainty caused by the fact that Turkey has been moving away from European standards of freedom of thought, press and religion.
Merkel alluded to a promise of EU membership for Turkey made by the first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, to Turkish immigrants settling in Germany, while adding that she is in favor of avoiding illusions and that she prefers a privileged partnership rather than full membership for Turkey.
Merkel’s remarks come at a time when Turkish-German relations have been strained by the decline in Turkey of democracy and the rule of law, repression against the opposition and the press and violation of basic human rights and freedoms as well as German citizens being held under arrest in Turkey.