Merkel plays down differences over Turkey

10th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2005, BERLIN - Conservative Angela Merkel, who is set to become the new German chancellor, on Monday glossed over differences on Turkish European Union membership between her party and the Social Democrats with whom she wants to set up a coalition.

10 October 2005

BERLIN - Conservative Angela Merkel, who is set to become the new German chancellor, on Monday glossed over differences on Turkish European Union membership between her party and the Social Democrats with whom she wants to set up a coalition.

Merkel used Germany's election campaign to underline staunch opposition to Turkish entry to the European Union (E.U.). In contrast, outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made clear that he is a strong backer of Turkey joining the 25-nation bloc.

"Negotiations have commenced and will take a long time. We will have to wait and see," said Merkel in reference to talks between Ankara and Brussels which began on October 3.

The E.U.'s capacity to integrate Turkey would have to be taken into account as would the Union's Copenhagen Criteria which set standards for rule of law and minority protection, she said.

Merkel who did not repeat her calls for Turkey to be given a sub-membership status which she terms a 'privileged partnership'.

DPA

Subject: German news

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