Christian Democrats call for strategic cooperation between EU and Turkey on foreign policy and security issues
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats called for closer EU-Turkey ties, without pledging a full membership perspective, in their election manifesto released on Monday.
Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc (CDU/CSU) underlined Turkey’s strategic and economic importance for Germany and Europe, in a 76-pages long manifesto ahead of Sept. 24 general elections.
“We would like to further deepen ties between the EU and Turkey. A close and special cooperation serves people of Europe and Turkey,” the conservatives said in their manifesto.
“Therefore, we want the strongest possible cooperation between the European Union and Turkey, as well as a strategic cooperation on foreign policy and security issues,” they added.
Christian Democrats, who had been skeptical of EU enlargement, did not back away from their opposition to a full membership perspective to Turkey, but did not call for an end to ongoing membership negotiations between Brussels and Ankara.
“We oppose a full membership perspective to Turkey, because conditions for an accession are not met,” they argued, and voiced criticism over recent political developments and human rights issues in Turkey.
Despite recent political tensions between Ankara and EU capitals, Turkey remains an important partner for Germany in addressing the refugee crisis, and efforts for a political solution to the civil war in Syria.
Germany received a record 890,000 refugees in 2015, mostly Syrians, but the number of asylum seekers dropped to 280,000 in 2016 after the EU and Turkey started to cooperate in stopping irregular migration.