German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday reiterated her opposition to Turkey’s full membership of the European Union, but expressed support for rapprochement with Ankara by updating the EU-Turkey Customs Union and a key agreement on refugees, Anadolu Agency reports.

“My political point of view on this is well known. I didn’t think Turkey would become a member of the EU, and I still don’t see her joining the EU. But despite that, I want to have a very good relationship. with Turkey, “Merkel said at a press conference ahead of the September general elections which will see her successor elected.

The outgoing Conservative leader stressed that she had made great efforts in recent months to improve relations between the EU and Turkey, and also cited how EU leaders reached an agreement last month to pave the way for closer cooperation.

Merkel said the EU wanted to modernize the 25-year-old customs union with Turkey and renew the 2016 refugee agreement which aims to stem irregular migration and provide support to Syrian refugees.

“Turkey is doing a great job of taking care of the Syrian refugees. We gave support to Turkey, but of course it was a small amount,” she said, referring to the financial commitments of the EU under the 2016 Refugee Agreement.

“I hope that this agreement with Turkey will be further developed, it would be the best for the people concerned,” she added.

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