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Merkel speaks against hard deadlines for Turkey

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Merkel speaks against hard deadlines for Turkey


Germany has rejected the idea of the European Union setting any ultimatums for Turkey over its entry negotiations. But Berlin has stressed that the common goal should be the implementation of the Ankara Protocol aimed at opening ports to Cyprus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a summit news conference with Polish and French Presidents Lech Kaczynski and Jacques Chirac, said she would lobby for the European Commission to issue a report on Turkish compliance.

She said: “We don’t want an ultimatum, but on the Member States’ side we would like to ground ourselves in the European Commission’s reports. These tell us what has been attained and if we can go forward between autumn next year and spring of 2009.” That was in reference to Turkey’s elections first and then European elections two years later.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reaction was: “Turkey has nothing to lose. The loser in this would be the EU.”
EU foreign ministers are due to decide on Monday what sanctions to impose on Ankara for failure to meet a treaty obligation to open harbours and airports to traffic from EU member Cyprus. The Commission last week recommended a partial suspension of EU-Turkey talks. Some EU countries that oppose the idea, notably Britain, want any mention of hard deadlines for Turkey avoided.

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