A statement by Germany’s European commissioner saying that Ankara’s EU bid is “unrealistic” while president Erdogan is in power has been described as “cultural racism” by Turkey’s Minister of EU Affairs, Reuters reports, citing Anadolu news agency.

 

Guenther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

 

Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik was speaking to the state Anadolu Agency, Reuters reported.

 

On Tuesday, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger told Bild newspaper that in the current circumstances Turkey’s EU accession “is not realistic all through the next decade.”

 

“This will surely be an issue [for discussion] for the time after [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” he said. The official added, however, that Ankara is an important geostrategic and economic partner for the EU, and maintaining healthy bilateral ties is critical.

 

Talks between Ankara and Brussels on Turkey’s EU membership have been going for a long time, with Turkey linking the progress in discussions on granting visa-free travel for its nationals to its contribution to a controversial refugee deal.