Turkey insists on full EU membership despite German resistance
Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated demands on Wednesday for full EU membership, pitting himself on a collision course with Germany days before a visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel, DPA reported.
"We are already conducting negotiations, and these are aimed at full membership. For us, there is no alternative," Erdogan said in an interview with the German weekly Zeit.
A few days earlier, Merkel had insisted that she would offer Turkey alternatives to full EU membership.
"I am of the opinion that we should rather aim for a privileged partnership, in other words a very close affiliation of Turkey to the European Union," the chancellor said in a radio interview over the weekend.
Turkey has previously rejected similar statements by the German chancellor, calling them "unacceptable." Progress has been sluggish on Turkish EU accession talks, which began in 2005.
Merkel's two-day visit to Turkey begins March 29 and is to focus on this year's joint European Capital of Culture, Istanbul.