Turkey hails cancellation of EU petition

18th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2004, BERLIN - Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in an interview to be published Tuesday, hailed a decision by Germany's opposition Christian Democrats to cancel a mass petition aimed at preventing Ankara from joining the European Union.

18 October 2004

BERLIN - Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in an interview to be published Tuesday, hailed a decision by Germany's opposition Christian Democrats to cancel a mass petition aimed at preventing Ankara from joining the European Union.

"A bomb could have exploded in our hands," said Gul in remarks to the Handelsblatt newspaper, adding that he greatly respected the Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) for having ditched the idea.

The opposition CDU/CSU last week abruptly cancelled the planned petition against Turkish memberhip in the European Union amid fears it would fuel right-wing extremists and racism.

A number of key CDU members, such Volker Ruehe who was defence minister under former chancellor Helmut Kohl, strongly back Turkish EU membership.

Earlier this month the European Commission recommended starting accession talks with Ankara. A final decision on negotiations will be made by the 25 EU heads of state and government at their 17 December summit in Brussels.

But even if talks begin Turkey is not expected to join the EU until as late as 2019.

Gul was in Berlin Monday for talks with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

DPA

Subject: German news

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