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Turkey's Erdogan Wants Full EU Membership

has reaffirmed that his country will accept nothing less than full European Union membership after negotiations with the 25-nation bloc.

The prime minister's comments to a group of lawmakers from his Justice and Development Party Tuesday come three days before the opening of a crucial two-day EU summit. EU leaders will decide at that meeting whether to open membership talks with Ankara.

Critics of Turkey's EU membership bid say the country should be offered a less extensive partnership if membership talks fail. They cite concerns about immigration, cultural differences and Turkey's human rights record.

Also today, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, a leading critic of full Turkish EU membership, met in Vienna with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose country chairs the European Union.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.