German Deputy Chancellor Horst Seehofer has warned against the proposed visa-free entry for Turkish citizens, saying Turkey will only bring its problems to Europe.
Seehofer, who is the head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and coalition partner of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that he could only warn about the consequences of what was happening in the negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey last month.
The much lauded EU-Turkey summit deal was designed to tackle the problems of the migrant crisis and has been seen as the only constructive attempt by the EU to address the issue.
Part of the deal negotiated by Ankara was to see the visa-free movement of Turkish citizens into the EU. Seehofer said in an interview with German paper Bayernkurier that will be fully published on Friday, he thinks that the visa-free movement of Turkish nationals will only ensure, “that the Turkish domestic problems are imported to Germany,” Die Welt reports.
The CSU as a party is also increasingly worried about the military operations that the Turkish government has been carrying out against it’s Kurdish minority in the south of Turkey and in northern Syria. Under the scope of combating the terrorist PKK group, the Turks have maintained a constant bombing campaign that Seehofer and others fear could lead to a mass exodus of Kurdish civilians if the current visa restrictions are removed.
Turkey is also looking to move forward with potential negotiations on it joining the European Union as a full member. Seehofer said that he wasn’t a proponent of any kind of membership deal for Turkey. He said that there needs to be a longer time-frame to negotiate any possibility of membership saying, if I accelerate the accession negotiations, then I cannot say at the end of the acceleration process, we do not want you in the EU.” He claimed that accelerating the talks would just give a clear signal to Ankara that Germany and the other European nations want Turkey as a member and said, “we at the CSU clearly don’t want that.”
Seehofer has remained a critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel since the start of the migrant crisis. Shortly after the mass sex attacks on New Years Eve in Cologne Seehofer along with the CSU told Merkel she must do more to secure the German border, threatening her with a constitutional lawsuit. After the ratification of the Eu-Turkey migrant deal and new German integration plan earlier this month he reiterated the need for better border control saying that the lawsuit was still very much on the table.