German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a radio interview today that the European Union should halt accession talks with Turkey because of Ankara’s human rights violations.
“We cannot hold accession negotiations with a country which violates human rights, which violates freedom of press, which sends citizens of the European Union to prison without any clear reason,” Gabriel told SWR broadcaster.
Gabriel added that the EU could develop a “new form of cooperation” during negotiations about Britain’s departure from the bloc and that this model could also be a blueprint for other countries like Turkey.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her centre-left challenger Martin Schulz both said during a televised debate weeks before Germany’s 24 September election that they would seek an end to Turkey’s membership talks with the EU.
Earlier, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged European countries to change their view of the country, saying that unless the EU sees Ankara as an equal partner, “a healthy relationship won’t be possible”.