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Turkish PM Says EU Membership Would Link Islam and the West

Turkey's prime minister says allowing his country to join the European Union would contribute to what he called the "harmony of civilizations."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Britain's Independent newspaper, in an interview published Monday, that giving membership to the Muslim majority nation would help reconcile the Islamic and Western worlds and prove the European Union is not what he calls a "Christian club."

E.U. ministers will decide whether to open formal membership talks with Turkey at their summit this week in Brussels. As a condition for those talks, France says it wants Turkey to acknowledge the massacre of Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as genocide.

Mr. Erdogan says Turkey has met all the E.U. membership requirements, including eliminating torture and the death penalty.

But some European leaders have misgivings about Turkish membership, citing its human rights record.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP.