A German conservative leader argued Saturday that Turkey does not belong in the European Union, although he stressed the need for "close cooperation" with the predominantly Muslim country.
Germany's left-right coalition government supports ongoing membership talks between Turkey and the EU, but its conservative half remains deeply skeptical about the country joining.
"Europe is a community of values, and I say yes to close cooperation, to friendship with Turkey - but if we want to make the European Union an intellectual center ... then I say Turkey has no place here," said Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber, the leader of the conservative Christian Social Union.
"We say that very clearly, we stand by it and you can rely on that," Stoiber, whose CSU is the Bavaria-only sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told a party conference.
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