Germany’s foreign minister says Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union are dwindling, but the country might one day hope for a privileged partnership with the bloc.


Sigmar Gabriel told German weekly Der Spiegel in an interview published Saturday that “Turkey is further away than ever before from EU membership.”


Gabriel, whose center-left Social Democrats have tended to back Turkish membership in the EU, says he was always skeptical of the idea.


He says upcoming negotiations about the EU’s future relationship with Britain might provide a blueprint for Turkey “in the long term.”


Relations between Berlin and Ankara have soured recently over a German Parliament resolution labeling the 20th century killing of Armenians as “genocide,” Turkey’s crackdown on the opposition and civil society, and appearances by Turkish officials in Germany.

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