Germany and Turkey traded political barbs on Friday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this week that she was “appalled at the very tough” Turkish response to riots in that country.
The issue has created more pressure around Turkey’s application to join the European Union.
The German government summoned the Turkish ambassador to Berlin on Friday to explain remarks made by Egemen Bagis, who is handling negotiations with the EU.
Bagis claimed Merkel was using Turkey’s riots for her own political gain ahead of domestic elections in Germany this year.
Merkel has been very vocal against Turkey joining the EU, saying it hasn’t satisfied requirements.
“We reject full membership for Turkey because it does not meet the conditions for EU entry,” a statement from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party says, the Guardian reported.
“Additionally, the EU would be overstretched because of [Turkey's] size and because of its economic structures.”
Turkey responded to the diplomatic summons in-kind, summoning the German envoy to Ankara “to convey our views on recent developments,” Reuters reported.
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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan faced international condemnation for using security forces to crack down on protests in Ankara's Taksim Square last week.
Turkey first applied for entry into the EU in 2005 alongside Croatia. While the latter is set to become the 28th member next week, Turkey still has a long list of outstanding requirements.
Bagis insisted his country’s application has nothing to do with recent protest crackdowns, and that it’s all just “technical reasons,” BBC News said.
To that point, the German government insisted that it doesn’t want to block Turkey; it just wants to ensure Turkey’s ready to join.
"Neither the chancellor nor the government are questioning the accession process in any way. We are not talking about 'whether,’ just about 'how,' to continue the accession process," German government spokesman Georg Streiter told Reuters.
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