German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 22 reiterated her opposition to Turkey‘s full membership in the European Union but voiced support for closer ties with Ankara by updating the EU-Turkey Customs Union and a key refugee agreement.
“My political view on this is well known. I didn’t believe that Turkey would become an EU member, and I still don’t see it joining the EU. But despite this I want to have very good relations with Turkey,” Merkel told a press conference ahead of general elections in September that will see her successor elected.
The outgoing conservative leader underlined that she has made strong efforts in recent months to improve ties between the EU and Turkey, and also cited how last month European leaders reached an agreement to pave the way for closer cooperation.
Merkel said the EU wants to modernize the 25-year-old Customs Union with Turkey and renew the 2016 refugee deal which aims at stemming irregular migration and providing support for Syrian refugees.
“Turkey is doing an excellent job of taking care of Syrian refugees. We provided support to Turkey, but of course, that was a small amount,” she said, referring to EU financial pledges as part of the 2016 refugee deal.
“I would like this agreement with Turkey to be further developed, this would be the best for the affected people,” she added.
Hurriyet Daily News