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New Hurdles Emerge In Turkish Hopes For EU Membership

26 August 2005 -- French President Jacques Chirac renewed today his call for the EU to discuss at accession talks with Turkey in October Turkey's refusal to recognize EU member Cyprus.

Turkey signed a required customs agreement with EU members last month, but added a clause saying it still withholds recognition of Cyprus. Chirac's press office quoted the French president as saying today that Turkey's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of an EU member is out of step for a would-be EU member.

Deutsche Press Agentur reported today that German opposition leader Angela Merkel has written to European conservative leaders urging them to oppose Turkish membership in the EU. She proposed offering Turkey a lesser status called "privileged partnership."

A European Commission spokeswoman insisted today that the aim of the negotiations remains the eventual accession of Turkey into the EU.