German chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to shut down Turkey’s EU accession talks and defended her open-door refugee policy.
Merkel made the Turkey pledge in a pre-election TV debate with her main rival, former European Parliament head Martin Schulz, on Sunday (3 September).
“The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said.
“I’ll speak to my [EU] colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks,” she added.
Her surprise remarks, which she made impromptu in a segment on North Korea, represented an on-air U-turn.
Schulz had earlier said he would end the Turkey negotiations.
“If I were chancellor, I’d ask the European Council to end the accession talks with Turkey … We should not allow in a country that is against EU values,” he said.
“The only thing [Turkish president] Erdogan understands is: ‘Now it’s over’. We need to be clear in this: ‘No money to Turkey anymore’ – then he will think carefully about his actions,” he added.