German opposition leader Merkel to continue objecting to Turkish EU membership
AFX Europe (Focus); Jun 16, 2005
BERLIN (AFX) – Angel Merkel, the head of the opposition CDU, said she
will stick to her objection to Turkey joining the European Union if
she wins the general election in September.
Merkel told parliament that she will stand by her position that the
EU would be better served by a “privileged partnership” with the
Turkish government as opposed to full membership.
“We will not renounce our position and will continue to repeat that
negotiations for a privileged partnership are the best option for
integrating Turkey in Europe,” she said.
Merkel said that the fact that Turkey had still not established
diplomatic relations with Armenia or Cyprus, the latter of which
joined the EU one year ago, is a “quite catastrophic situation”.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has strongly backed full EU membership
for Turkey, which is due to begin EU accession talks on Oct 3.
Merkel’s Christian Union bloc is leading Schroeder’s Social Democrats
in opinion polls by a double-digit margin.