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Turkey Warns EU Against Becoming 'Christian Club'


Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has warned the European Union against becoming a "club of Christians" as he pushes for Ankara's membership in the grouping.

Babacan told reporters in Davos, Switzerland Saturday that Turkey would add to the 27-nation bloc by expanding its cultural richness. He said inclusion of the largely-Muslim Turkey would also make the European Union a truly global voice.

Babacan made the comments on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum, where he stressed Turkey's commitment to continuing economic, political and social reforms.

Turkey is an official candidate for EU membership. But its entry bid has roused opposition, most notably from France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said repeatedly that Turkey should be offered a privileged partnership rather than full membership.

The internationally recognized Greek-led government of Cyprus also opposes Turkish EU membership. Turkey has refused to open trade and travel links with the Cyprus government, as part of its ongoing territorial dispute over the divided island.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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