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Germany's Schröder Backs Turkish EU Bid

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Tuesday assured visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Berlin would support Ankara’s bid to join the European Union. After receiving Erdogan with complete military honors at the Chancellery, Schröder dismissed recent comments by the conservative opposition against Turkish EU membership as “cheap polemics.” Erdogan, midway through his three-day state visit, earlier on Tuesday had called on Turks living in Germany to become naturalized citizens in order to better integrate into society. An estimated 2.5 million Turks live in Germany and many remain loath to give up their Turkish passports to become German citizens despite living in the country for years.

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