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Chirac chides Bush over Turkey


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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- French President Jacques Chirac has taken U.S. President George W. Bush to task over his call for Turkey's admission to the European Union.

"If President Bush really said that in the way that I read, then not only did he go too far, but he went into territory that isn't his," Chirac said of a remark Bush made over the weekend.

"It is is not his purpose and his goal to give any advice to the EU, and in this area it was a bit as if I were to tell Americans how they should handle their relationship with Mexico."

Bush spoke after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

He praised Turkey as an exemplary Muslim democracy and said, "As Turkey meets the EU standards for membership, the European Union should begin talks that will lead to full membership for the Republic of Turkey."

The brush with Chirac threatened to chill relations with France, which leaders on both sides of the Atlantic had been working to thaw.

Chirac was one of the most outspoken critics of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, but France recently approved a U.S.-backed U.N. resolution recognizing the new Iraqi authority.

On Monday, NATO -- of which France is a prominent member -- agreed to Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's request to provide training to Iraqi security forces.


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