Germany says Turkey in no position to join EU at the moment

BERLIN (Reuters) - Turkey is not ready to join the European Union now, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Monday after she said during a German election debate on Sunday that Ankara "should not become a member".

Merkel was bounced into beefing up her rhetoric on Turkey during the debate after her main challenger, Social Democrat Martin Schulz, vowed to stop Ankara's bid to join the EU if he was elected chancellor.

"The chancellor's words speak for themselves," Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told a regular government news conference in Berlin.

"At the moment, Turkey is not at all in a position to join the European Union. In fact, the negotiations are dormant at the moment," he said, adding that EU leaders would pick up the issue when they meet in October.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel and Michelle Martin)

2017-09-04 12:34:00 SAST

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