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    German Chancellor and chairwomen of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany, September 19, 2016.

    German Chancellor’s Stance on Turkish Accession to EU Remains Unchanged

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's position that it is impossible at the moment to open a new chapter of the EU-accession negotiations with Turkey has not changed, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) – Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005. Sixteen out of 35 chapters of the accession talks have been opened. The negotiations on Turkish EU membership have been repeatedly suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying press freedom, among other obstacles.

    "It is not important what interpretations exist, I can tell you that the chancellor’s and the government’s positions on EU accession talks with Turkey have not changed. This position was voiced many times. The European Union and Turkey have been holding negotiations with an unclear outcome for many years, opening new chapters under current circumstances does not seem possible," Seibert said at a press briefing.

    In mid-March, the European Union agreed to intensify the talks in exchange for Turkish agreement to help reduce the flow of migrants to Europe.

    On November 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the issue of Turkey joining the European Union could be put to a referendum next year following European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s threats to introduce economic sanctions against Turkey amid arrests of opposition politicians and journalists in the country.

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    European Union, Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert, Germany, Turkey
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