>> German Chancellor Angela Merkel fighting for reelection, with Turkey becoming the punching bag. During a debate ahead of election this month, Merkel says she'll try to end Ankara's EU membership talks. Reuters Noah Barkin in Berlin says she was cajoled by her competitor for the chancellery.>> Why did she do it?
Well it seems that she was pushed into it, so to speak, by her challenger Martin Schultz, the social democrat candidate for Chancellor. He came out during the debate last night and said if he becomes chancellor he will push for an end to the Turkey membership talks with the EU.
Merkel appeared to be on the defensive, she didn't want to appear too soft on Turkey.>> A matter of hours later, and a warning sign that the comments may only worsen strained tries.>>
> On the campaign trail, that might be much harder to silence.
Erdoğan's crackdown in the aftermath of a failed coup last July bringing ties between the two into sharp focus. In Sunday's pre-election debate Merkel made an about-turn on past policy. But it's not completely out of step with her support base.>> Merkel and her party have always been opposed to Turkey joining the EU.
But the decision was taken by Europe to launch these membership talks before Merkel took office. So she's always said that she would respect that decision and not end the talks.>> In the heat of the debate, Merkel said she would speak to her EU colleagues about stopping cession talks.
That means both potential German leaders want to end negotiations. Without the backing of the EU's paymaster, Turkey's bid looks on ice at best.>>