ANKARA // The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, will insist on "privileged partnership" for Turkey instead of full EU membership when she visits the country next week, according to remarks published yesterday. "There are intertwined relations between Turkey and the EU. There are 35 chapters in the [membership] talks. I am confident that 27-28 of them can be taken up and this will really mean a privileged partnership," she said was quoted as saying by the Milliyet newspaper.
"Some issues, like institutional integration, will be left out of the scope," she told a group of Turkish reporters, before a visit to Turkey on Monday and Tuesday. Mrs Merkel stressed, however, that the European Union placed "great importance" on the need for Turkey to follow a foreign policy consistent with the bloc's stance. Germany's position that the sizeable, mainly Muslim, country is not fit for accession is backed by another EU heavyweight, France, but Ankara categorically rejects any alternatives that fall short of full membership.
* Agence France-Presse