German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “I do not expect Turkey to join the EU”

In her latest press conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated that she does not expect Turkey to become a member of the European Union. She made her comment while assessing the Syrian refugee crisis and Turkey’s role. Merkel, who has been German Chancellor for 16 years and will step down after general elections this September, said she hopes to see closer cooperation within the scope of the refugee agreement saying that, “the continuation of this agreement is best for everyone.”

Merkel reiterated that she thinks Turkey cannot become a member of the EU:

“You know my political view and that I did not and still do not foresee Turkish membership of the EU. Nevertheless, I am in favor of close relations with Turkey. I have also been an advocate of the EU’s refugee agreement. We have also (re-)started talks about the customs union.”

After mentioning that 3 billion euros of additional EU funds will be given to Turkey under the refugee agreement, Merkel said, “Refugees are human beings, they should not be used as political tools.”

On the Turkey–Cyprus issue, Merkel told present reporters that recent actions by, “Turkey and Greece on Cyprus have made the relationship more difficult. It will take patience to resolve the differences.”

Tensions between the two countries increased after statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit this week to Northern Cyprus. During the visit, Erdoğan announced that part of the Maraş region would be opened. When the Greek Cypriot side appealed to the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated that they are working on a strong response from the UNSC. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres also made a statement through his spokesman expressing his deep concern over the rekindling of tensions.

This article was originally published by @gazetesabro and translated SyriacPress.