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Erdogan urges more German support for EU bid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan waits during his visit at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/dpa, Rainer Jensen)

BERLIN: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Germany Tuesday to step up support for Turkey's European Union entry bid but acknowledged his country must also press on with reforms.

Erdogan told a Berlin think tank on a visit to Europe's top economy that the EU could also benefit from Turkey's presence at the bloc's table such as in regional conflict resolution.

"We expect and would like also to receive the support from Germany for the path into the EU and the EU admission process," Erdogan told the German Council on Foreign Relations.

"We would like for Germany to campaign (for it) more strongly than up until now," he added through an interpreter.

Erdogan was later to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel whose conservatives favour forging a "privileged partnership" between the EU and Turkey rather than full entry.

Erdogan's visit to Germany, home to around three million people with Turkish roots and Turkey's biggest trading partner, comes as he is facing his toughest political crisis in 11 years in power at home.

It also follows a recent trip to EU headquarters in Brussels aimed at reinvigorating Turkey's longstanding bid to join the bloc but dominated by his controversial response to a massive graft scandal.

"It goes without saying that also it's up to Turkey, in the (EU) admission process, to pursue its reforms and to continually further carry these out," Erdogan said.

Turkey began formal EU membership talks in 2005 which then hit several stumbling blocks but negotiations resumed late last year following a three-year freeze.

 

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