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Germany

Conservatives Condemn Turkish EU Attitude

An advisor to German chancellor hopeful Angela Merkel on Thursday blasted Turkey's attitude to the European Union as "unacceptable" and accused Ankara of intimidation. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul rejected the conservative Christian Union bloc's proposal of a "privileged partnership" with the EU instead of full membership as "illegitimate and immoral." Friedbert Pflüger, one of the Christian Union's spokesmen on foreign affairs, said Gul's tone was "completely unacceptable." "Ankara wants to intimidate us. That is not how we go about things in Europe," Pflüger said in an interview with Hanover's Neue Presse newspaper. EU foreign ministers were due to begin two days of talks in Wales on Thursday about how to put pressure on Turkey to meet the conditions for membership just weeks before it is due to start accession talks. Ankara's persistent refusal to recognize the government of EU member Cyprus is one of the major stumbling blocks. The German government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder strongly backs Turkey's bid to become an EU member. But the Christian Union bloc, which is set to win the general election on September 18, claims Turkey is not ready to become part of the EU because it claims the predominantly Muslim country lacks European traditions.

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