Merkel in Turkey says does not aim to assimilate Turks

Merkel said the EU accession talks with Turkey was "open ended".

Merkel in Turkey says does not aim to assimilate Turks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU accession talks with Turkey was "open ended", reiterating Germany's support to an open ended negotiation process.

Merkel who is visiting Turkey told a joint press conference with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan that they reiterated the importance of "the pacta sund servanda" principle.

Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have suggested in the past that the EU should offer "privileged partnership" to Turkey rather than full membership. The suggestion drew strong reaction from Turkey which clearly refused it, arguing that the aim of the accession talks was full membership.

Merkel's visit once more carried the issue --which was forgotten for months-- high on agenda.

Answering a question on the issue, Merkel said in the past they suggested "privileged partnership" as a positive thing in line with Turkey's unique position in economic and cultural relations, adding that the suggestion was not welcomed.

She emphasized that the accession talks were open ended.

Merkel underlined that the solution of the Cyprus issue was key for further progress in accession talks, urging Turkey to implement the Ankara protocol and open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

Responding to Turkey's call, Merkel said they agreed in principle with Turkish Premier Erdogan for the opening of Turkish schools in Germany, noting that this should not be pretext of not learning German for Turkish nationals in her country.

She said they did not aim to assimilate Turks but to help them "integrate" into German society.

Responding to a question on the bilateral agreement on prevention of double taxation which expired, Merkel said they wanted the renewal of the agreement. She added that the issue would be discussed in detail in the business forum on Tuesday.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mart 2010, 11:09