German Chancellor Angela Merkel vows to block Turkey from joining European Union

Geneva Matthews
September 4, 2017

Martin Schulz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have criticized on Sunday former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for intending to enter the Board of Directors of Russian oil company Rosneft.

Merkel, who has previously expressed doubts about Turkey ever joining the European Union, refused to commit to the same move, but sharply criticized Erdogan's rule, saying that "Turkey is departing from all democratic practices at breakneck speed".

"I don't plan to break off diplomatic relations with Turkey because we have to outdo each other a little bit during the election campaign to see who is tougher", Merkel said.

Polls published after the televised debate put the chancellor ahead in the crucial clash.

Brussels, which has already frozen Turkey's entry negotiations, is now likely to consider further actions.

On perhaps the most controversial episode of Merkel's tenure - her handling of the refugee crisis - Schulz insisted that he would have worked more closely with European allies.

But after the moderators had moved on and asked the two candidates a question about US President Donald Trump, Merkel returned to the Turkey issue, suddenly throwing her weight behind an end to the membership talks. She also urged to better screening asylum seekers on for what reasons they come to Germany.

Merkel responded: "We had a very dramatic situation then.There are times in the life of a chancellor when she has to decide".

Ms Merkel's Democratic Social Union and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union lead the SPD by 38 per cent to 24 per cent, according to the latest opinion polls by the Emnid agency.

Earlier in the year Merkel had faced major questions over whether she would be able to survive a two-pronged assault, with Schulz attacking from the left even as she confronted a vigorous challenge from her right flank in the form of the upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. A survey by Infratest Dimap for ARD television showed her overall performance was viewed as more convincing by 55 %, compared to 35 % for Schulz.

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