(Reuters)–Turkey should never join the European Union because it lies mostly outside Europe geographically–and accession talks should not begin on October 3 unless Ankara first recognizes the sovereignty of Cyprus–according to the vice president of Germany’s CDU/CSU party–Wolfang Schauble.
Schauble made these remarks in the Polish daily–Rzeczpospolita–on July 25 following Germany’s decision last week to push for elections on September 18–which are widely expected to sweep the center-right CDU/CSU group into power.
"The EU should not extend beyond the boundary that we call the European continent. Otherwise people will stop identifying with it. And if so–Turkey–the vast part of which lies outside Europe–cannot belong to the union," he proclaimed.
Schauble explained that the October 3 membership talks could proceed with Ankara as planned "if by this time Turkey formally recognizes the sovereignty of our European partner Cyprus."
However–he added that Ankara should be made aware the negotiations are open-ended and could possibly lead to a privileged partnership status rather than full membership.
The vice president in charge of foreign affairs and justice brushed aside worries that blocking Turkish entry might send a hostile message to the Islamic world and aggravate Washington–which has pressed for Turkish accession in recent years.
Schauble indicated that Ankara’s NATO membership and the fact that 20 million Muslims reside in the EU "is proof that we–Christians and Muslims–can live together sharing the same fundamental values."
The vice president also added that "the US will agree that it is us–the Europeans–who know best which institutional form to give to our relations with Turkey."