Germany's Merkel Opposed to Turkey's Full EU Membership
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is opposed to Turkey being given full European Union membership, begins her two-day visit to that country Monday.
Despite being Turkey's biggest trading partner and nearly three million Turks living in Germany, Merkel has made it clear that she prefers the EU-aspirant be given a 'privileged partnership' with the bloc.
Turkish officials have said Ankara will accept nothing less than full membership in the 27-nation bloc, RTT News reported.
Merkel has held out the possibility of further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, while Erdogan has rejected the idea.
The German chancellor was scheduled to wrap up her visit Tuesday after touring historic sites in Istanbul and attending a business forum there.
Germany is one of Turkey's principal economic partners -- bilateral trade amounted to almost 25 billion euros (36 billion dollars) in 2008. More than 4,000 German companies operate or have partnerships in Turkey, Expatica Germany reported.
According to Press TV, the two main disagreements between the two nations are Turkey's admission to the European Union (EU) and the opening of a Turkish-language school in Germany.
Turkey wants to join the EU as a full member and Merkel and her Christian Democrats want to keep it out and instead only offer the prospects of a closer relationship described as a "privileged partnership," without voting rights.
For years Turkey's opponents in the EU have argued that a largely Islamic state with a distinct culture and history has no place in the EU, a political-economic bloc that Germany co-founded.