Merkel: Cyprus is stumbling block in Turkey's EU ambitions

February 25, 2013 21:20

ANKARA - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she was in favor of reviving Turkey's stalled talks on its relationship with the European Union but a dispute over the divided island of Cyprus remained a stumbling block.

Speaking during a two-day visit to Turkey, Merkel, who favors a "privileged partnership" for Turkey in place of full EU membership, said it would be right to open a new chapter in Ankara's negotiations with Brussels.

But she said failure to agree on the Ankara Protocol, which would extend Turkey's customs agreement with the EU by opening its ports to goods from Cyprus, was hindering Turkey's membership ambitions.

"I said today that we should open a new chapter in the negotiations," Merkel told a news conference in Ankara.

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