Germany seeks to delay Turkey's EU bid

June 24, 2013 at 4:20 PM

BRUSSELS, June 24 (UPI) -- Germany has proposed putting off stalled talks on Turkey's bid to enter the European Union until after German elections are held in September.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle floated the idea Monday in a meeting with colleagues in Luxembourg, citing the Turkish government's recent crackdown on protesters.

Turkey officially began the process of entering the EU three years ago and talks have stalled amid the violence in Syria, a diplomatic flap between Turkey and Israel, the European debt crisis and now, the latest, anti-government protests.

Turkey, a NATO member state, noted German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood to gain domestic political benefits among right-wing voters by stalling negotiations, EUobserver said.

"As usual, domestic politics is playing a role in multilateral politics," one EU diplomatic contact said.

Westerwelle denied there is a link between Germany's proposal and the nation's domestic electoral process.

"You can't deny a certain influence of the events of [Turkey's crackdown] the last two weeks on the German position," he said. "That's why we think it might be an acceptable compromise to go this way."

Austria and the Netherlands agreed postponing the discussions was a good idea but other EU member states have sought to fast-track Turkey's acceptance.

The issue is set to be discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors Wednesday.

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