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Germany's Merkel says Turkey's EU negotiations will be 'long road'

Germany's Merkel says Turkey's EU negotiations will be 'long road'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that the European Union's membership talks with Turkey will be a "long road," and made clear that her conservative party remains skeptical about the country joining the bloc.
In opposition, Merkel and her Christian Democrats called for a "privileged partnership" _ short of membership _ for the large Muslim nation.
However, she now leads a coalition with the Social Democrats of predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, who favor EU membership for Turkey, and the government supports the membership talks.
"There is no change of mind _ the position of the (Christian Democratic) Union remains that we would see a privileged partnership as a more correct result," Merkel told ARD television during a visit to Turkey.
However, "and this is also right, when a previous government has decided certain things _ and the European Union decided to open membership talks with Turkey _ then we continue that," Merkel added.
"We always say that these negotiations are being conducted with an open result _ they are still right at the beginning, and so a long road lies ahead of us at the end of which the decision will have to be made what the result is," she said.
After arriving in Turkey on Thursday, Merkel repeated the EU's demand that Ankara open its ports and airports to EU member Cyprus, but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would not take the step until the isolation of Turkish Cypriots ends.
In Friday's ARD interview, Merkel reiterated that the issue "must be overcome."
Still, she stressed that her talks in Turkey were taking place "in a very good spirit _ namely, in a spirit that we, Germany and Turkey, need each other internationally."


Updated : 2021-07-28 01:56 GMT+08:00