16 October 2004
German opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel has reportedly abandoned her plan to launch an anti-Turkey campaign involving a petition drive against the country's full membership. German politics had been rocked by Merkel's proposed anti-Turkey campaign, with her move denounced by many as demagogic populism. Christian Democrat Elmar Brok, head of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said the proposal had given him "stomachaches." In addition, Volker Beck, parliamentary leader of the Green Party, branded the initiative "foul" and "irresponsible." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder also weighed in, saying that for him, the strategic and security factors favoring Ankara's EU bid were decisive. It was in the face of such harsh criticism that Merkel decided to shelve her plan, a decision which is expected to be officially announced today.