A smart Brexit deal could serve as template for EU for closer ties with countries like Turkey and Ukraine which do not stand a chance of being inducted into the group in the near future, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (pictured) has said.
Such a model could help EU to forge a new, closer form of customs union with Ankara, he said.
The minister’s comments came days after Turkey released a German pilgrim David Britsch after mine months in custody. Earlier, a German journalist Mesale Tolu was released after spending seven months in an Istanbul jail for alleged links to a terrorist group. However, Tolu is not allowed to leave the country.
Gabriel welcomed their release as a good sign.
But Germany is concerned about the fate of Deniz Yücel, a correspondent for the daily Die Welt, who has been jailed in an Istanbul prison since February without charge. He is accused of terrorist propaganda and incitement of the population.
Recently, more than 200 German and international artists and thinkers including U2 singer Bono and Nobel literature prize winners Orhan Pamuk, Elfriede Jelinek, Svetlana Alexijevitsch, Herta Müller and J M Coetzee, called for Yücel’s release.
Turkey ranks 155 on the latest Reporters without Borders world press freedom index. According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 153 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency imposed after the failed coup early this year.
Turkey has sacked and jailed thousands of judges, bureaucrats and other government employees for their suspected role in the coup attempt. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly escaped an attempt on his life during the coup.
After the fall of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, many terrorists have fled to Turkey which may witness a new wave of terror strikes in Istanbul and Ankara.
Since Turkish President Erdogan behaves more like a sultan than a president, it may take years for Ankara to gain EU membership.