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.
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.