ISTANBUL – Turkey's EU minister has condemned German Chancellor Angela Merkel's reluctance to expand the European Union's customs union with Turkey.
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Speaking in Ankara on Thursday, Omer Celik called Merkel's statement "unfortunate," adding that it was a reaction to rising tensions between the two countries, and urged EU institutions not to "allow Germany to turn this into an EU matter."
Relations between the two countries have increasingly soured, with Turkey accusing Germany of harboring alleged terrorists and Germany protesting the arrest of several of its citizens in Turkey since last year's failed coup, including two journalists and a human rights activist.
Merkel said Wednesday her government would not exert extra efforts to continue the customs union agreement with Turkey as it would send the wrong signal to Turkey in light of recent events.