German finance minister says Turkey is not part of Europe

DUESSELDORF, Germany Wed Jul 3, 2013 9:10pm BST

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures as he addresses a news conference to present 2014 federal budget bill in Berlin June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures as he addresses a news conference to present 2014 federal budget bill in Berlin June 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Wednesday Turkey should not join the European Union as it was not part of Europe, bluntly underlining Berlin's opposition to the long-running membership bid.

Germany pressed the 28-member bloc to delay a new round of membership talks last week, in response to Ankara's crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Brussels postponed the discussions for at least four months, but said the path to Turkey's membership was still open.

"We should not accept Turkey as a full member ... Turkey is not part of Europe," Schaeuble said at an election rally by his and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party in the western German city of Duesseldorf.

Germany and France have always had concerns about allowing a largely Muslim country of 76 million people into the bloc, fearing that Turkey's cultural differences and its size will make it too difficult to integrate.

Merkel's critics have accused her of making a show of her opposition to Turkey's membership to curry favour with conservative voters before elections, scheduled for September.

Turkey became an associate of the bloc in the 1960s but accession talks launched in 2005 got bogged down in a dispute over the divided island of Cyprus, an EU member, and opposition from Paris and Berlin.

(Reporting By Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (5)
Oracle_MTX wrote:
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble should stick to his numbers and leave the geography for geographists!

Turkey is geographically in Europe, if it is not geographically in Europe then Cyprus a fully fledged member is also not part of Europe.

Jul 03, 2013 10:22pm BST  --  Report as abuse
furbianUK wrote:
A Finance Minister who obviously failed basic geography, maybe someone can buy him an atlas> Perhaps he can explain how half of Cyprus, the part further away from Europe than the Turkish North is in Europe but the Turkish half isn’t? Part of Turkey is part of the European landmass, whereas no part of Cyprus is, and most of Turkey is closer to Europe than Cyprus too. He should be more honest and just admit that he’s a racist who doesn’t like Turks.

Jul 03, 2013 11:24pm BST  --  Report as abuse
brjinder wrote:
I agree with the German Finance Minister and the French that Turkey should not be the part of EU for what ever reason they they have given.

Jul 03, 2013 12:00am BST  --  Report as abuse
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