Turkish Wants Clarification on its EU Bid after Snub by Germany

ANKARA (AP)Turkey on Tuesday called on the European Union to clarify the confusion over its bid for membership. "If the EU has negative thoughts about Turkey, it should make its decision so that we can continue on our own road. Let’s not waste money or energy," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an apparent reference to Germany, which declined to invite Turkey to the summit held in Berlin over the weekend. Erdogan contended that Turkey will not be a "burden" on the EU but is ready to help shoulder some of the EU’s responsibilities. Turkey has criticized Germany for not inviting Ankara to the summit, saying it was a missed opportunity to showcase a united European family. The predominantly Muslim country began EU membership talks in October 2005, but EU leaders partially froze negotiations in December because of Turkey’s refusal to open its ports to EU-member Cyprus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is skeptical about Turkey joining the EU. Instead, she has called for a "privileged partnership" with the country that would fall short of membership.British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who is on a three-day visit to Turkey, renewed her country’s support to Ankara and offered encouragement. "We strive to always be your staunchest ally," Beckett said during a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. "Applying to joining the EU can be a lengthy process. It was many years before the United Kingdom was able to join. In every enlargement, the process has been difficult, it has often been controversial, but always it has been worth it for all concerned," Beckett said. "We are sure it will be to the advantage of the EU and to the advantage of Turkey when Turkey’s membership application succeeds," she added.

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