MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During TV debates earlier in September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw no possibility for Turkey to enter the bloc. Schulz, in turn, promised to end the accession talks if he is elected chancellor.
"How could anyone lead Turkey to the European Union, when it says goodbye to everything that makes Europe – the freedom of opinion, human rights, the rule of law? What Martin Schulz promised is simply what everyone on the street thinks," Gabriel, a member of the SPD, said in an interview with the media outlet T-Online.
Speaking of the Turkish nationals living in Germany, Gabriel stressed that they chose to live there "precisely because it is different" from Turkey, because "freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and democracy work here."
Relations between Germany and Turkey experienced a setback following a failed coup attempt in July 2016, when Ankara accused Berlin of providing asylum to the plotters and continued to deteriorate this year after Germany decided to ban Turkish state-organized pre-referendum rallies on its soil in April. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response compared the German authorities' behavior to Nazism.