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Turkey cannot become a member of the European Union, said Manfred Weber, the European Peoples Party’s (EPP) lead candidate for the upcoming European elections, Rueters reported.

Weber also added that he would end accession talks if he becomes European Commission president.

Turkey says EU membership remains one of its top strategic goals even though accession talks, formally launched in 2004, have been stalled for years.

Weber told German conservatives in Bavaria “everyone wants good relations with Turkey, everyone wants to work closely together”.

“But if I become Commission president, then I will instruct the offices in Brussels to end the talks with Turkey on accession to the European Union,” he said to rapturous applause.

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