Per former German Chancellor Kohl’s words in the now-declassified documents, Turkey “cannot become a member” because it belongs “in another dimension”.
Ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s federal government from 1982 to 1998 always supported Turkey’s accession to the European Community (EC) in public, but secretly worked to prevent it. When Kohl’s foreign minister during that time, Klaus Kinkel, assured that Turkey was a part of Europe and that they “wanted to be there,” Der Spiegel editor Rudolf Augstein said, “Not a word is true.”
Now, the curtains are up as the German Foreign Office released confidential papers dating from 1992, and proving the suspicion of deception.
In 1992, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel explained to his Turkish counterpart Hikmet Çetin that the Federal Government was aware of Turkey’s attempts for a full EC membership and would “support it in this goal and on the way there”. The impression that Europeans “no longer want Turkey and that it is being relegated to a secondary role is wrong,” despite the presence of the considerable amount of problems to be taken care of.
Just three days later, Kohl revealed to Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland during his visit to Oslo that there was significant pressure from Turkey as a result of wanting full membership, but according to the papers, “we are against it”.
Per the papers citing Kohl’s words, Turkey “cannot become a member” because it belongs “in another dimension”.
In November 1992, Kohl also assured the then Prime Minister of Poland, Hanna Suchocka, that from Germany’s perspective, Turkey’s full membership in the EU was “inconceivable”. He also scoffed at party friends discussing the issue, saying “didn’t know from geography class that Anatolia is part of Europe.”
Kohl frequently tried to defend himself against the claims that he was anti-Turkish, as his son Peter is married to a Turkish woman. In regional politics, Kohl is suspected to have overtly expressed a negative attitude towards the Turkish government regarding the EC membership, but this is also suspected to not have occurred during his chancellorship.
The EC’s association agreement with Ankara in 1963 already gave away the possibility of accession. In 1987, an official application for membership was applied by Turkey to join the EU, and negotiations have been ongoing since 2005.