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Turkey Unfit to Join EU Says Merkel Europe Parliament Candidate

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A Person uses a Computer Showing YouTube's Logo in Istanbul
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government blocked both Twitter and YouTube amid YouTube postings of alleged voice recordings of senior Turkish officials allegedly engaged in graft, abuse of power and the creation of a pretext for an attack on Syria. Photographer: OOzan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey isn’t politically fit to join the European Union and shouldn’t become a member, the lead candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union for European Parliament elections said.

“The Erdogan Turkey of 2014 has moved further away from the standards of the European Union,” David McAllister, the CDU candidate for the May 25 European Parliament vote, said in an interview on April 8 in Hanover. “The current assault on freedom of expression in no way conforms with European standards.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government blocked both Twitter and YouTube amid YouTube postings of alleged voice recordings of senior Turkish officials allegedly engaged in graft, abuse of power and the creation of a pretext for an attack on Syria. The government ended its Twitter ban last week in compliance with a court order. A local Turkish court reinstated a ban on YouTube on April 5. Erdogan said Twitter was threatening Turkish national security.

“Independent of ongoing negotiations, I can’t imagine full membership of Turkey in the EU,” McAllister said. “It’s not about whether Turkey is ready to join the EU. They’re not ready. It’s just as much about the ability of the EU to take them in. A country of this size would overburden the EU economically and politically.”

Merkel rejects Turkey, a mainly Muslim nation of 81 million people, joining the 28-member EU. Instead, she and most of her CDU want to offer it a “privileged partnership” with the bloc.

Dutch Review

In the Netherlands, a Dutch parliament majority called on the government to reconsider its position on Turkish EU membership talks. Parliament also asked the government to seek support to partly stop or suspend pre-accession funds for Turkey, according to a statement on the website of the Dutch parliament yesterday.

The motion was introduced by Gert-Jan Segers of the Christian Union party and backed by government party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

EU governments agreed to restart entry talks with Turkey after a three-year pause last October in a bid to use potential membership as an incentive for Erdogan to boost civil liberties.

Nine years after starting down the EU path, Turkey has met only one of 35 areas from checklist of legislative and policy moves required for membership. The stalemate reflects the economically beleaguered EU’s waning appetite to take in new countries and Turkey’s renewed focus on the Middle East.

All 28 EU member states must unanimously approve any Turkish steps forward in the membership process.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Leon Mangasarian, Angela Cullen

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