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EU to go ahead with Turkish accession talks next month

The European Commission said here Tuesday that it would go ahead with its membership talks with Turkey next month regardless opposition from France.

The announcement came when Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited Brussels. Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for enlargement, said the talks would advance on Dec. 18 into two new policy areas, health and consumer policies and transport. Talks on a few other areas remain closed because of Turkey’s tense relations with Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004. The EU opened accession talks in 2005 with Turkey. This is believed to be a process of a dozen of years.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy expressed opposition to giving Turkey full membership of the 27-nation bloc, preferring a privileged partnership with the predominantly Muslin nation. He urged to establish a committee of wise men to discuss the future of the EU, especially its enlargement capacity. Babacan told reporters after talks with EU officials that the future of his country’s EU membership should not be held hostage by “short-term political interests,” referring to Sarkozy. (