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Germany’s Merkel favors talks on Turkey’s EU bid

BERLIN — Chancellor
Angela Merkel of Germany said Tuesday that she supports broadening talks soon on Turkey joining the European Union, though she remains skeptical about whether it should be admitted and will not put a time limit on the process.

Merkel also prodded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Germany, about judicial independence, addressing concerns raised by the country’s handling of a corruption scandal that has targeted people close to the Turkish leader.

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Turkey’s talks on joining the 28-nation EU began in 2005 but are barely moving, mainly due to Turkey’s dispute with EU member Cyprus and unease among some in the bloc about admitting a populous, largely Muslim country.

Merkel said she supports opening the sections of Turkey’s membership negotiations that address justice and human rights ‘‘as soon as possible.’’ She said she and Erdogan agreed to have their justice ministers discuss issues such as the appointment of prosecutors and judges.

Erdogan in December dismissed four government ministers implicated in a corruption scandal. He moved quickly to replace police officials involved in the investigation, an action that Turkish news reports said thwarted a second probe that sought to question his son and other people.

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