Der Spiegle

Obama Bashing in Bavaria and Paris
Der Spiegle

US President Barack Obama says Turkey’s future is in the European Union. Not everyone agrees. Numerous politicians in Germany have gone on the attack, and even French President Sarkozy is unimpressed.

Now that Obama is in Turkey, however, some political camps — particularly in Germany — have discovered the political efficacy of Obama bashing. While in Ankara, Obama reiterated his support for Turkish membership in the European Union. That doesn’t sit well with some.

“Turkey is bound to Europe by more than bridges over the Bosporus,” Obama told the Turkish parliament. “Centuries of shared history, culture and commerce bring you together. And Turkish membership would broaden and strengthen Europe’s foundation once more.”

It is a sentiment not universally shared in Europe. A number of politicians, particularly in Germany, went on the offensive. “It is a meddling in the internal affairs of Europe,” Bernd Posselt, a member of the European Parliament from Bavarian’s CSU. “The EU is not Obama’s plaything. He should accept Turkey as America’s 51st state instead,” he continued.

Indeed, Sarkozy was quick to reject Obama’s support for Turkish EU membership. Speaking after the US president said in Prague that membership for Turkey would “ensure we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe,” Sarkozy said: “I have been working hand in hand with President Obama, but when it comes to the European Union it is up to member states to decide.”