Turkey-Europe Tensions High as EU Summit Opens
Tensions with Turkey will be high on the agenda of the European Union summit this weekend, amid calls within the bloc to freeze relations, Al Jazeera reported.
Turkish and European officials have been in a war of words, with Ankara accusing members of the EU of supporting "terrorism" and EU politicians alleging a deterioration of democratic and human rights in Turkey.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that EU leaders would not make a decision on whether to freeze Ankara's EU membership bid during the upcoming summit in Brussels, which begins on October 18.
"We will certainly not take any decision, but I would like to listen to the views of my colleagues on bilateral relations with Turkey," she said in her weekly podcast on Saturday.
In September, in a televised debate before Germany's parliamentary elections, Merkel said that Turkey "should not become a member of the EU".
Merkel's ultimate aim is to convince other member states to approve suspending membership talks with Turkey, said Can Baydarol, the deputy chairman of the Ankara-based European Union and Global Research Association.
"However, after Emmanuel Macron's presidency in France, Berlin and Paris have been in a power struggle within the EU. It is not possible to achieve that consensus due to France's stance against such a move towards Turkey," Baydarol told Al Jazeera.
"France and certain other countries believe Turkey has a crucial role in the Middle East, given the currently ongoing multiple crises. This is the reason why Merkel recently said that they will not make a decision on suspension of talks in this summit."
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