German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected questions in Turkey about whether the European Union really wants the Muslim-majority country as a member, saying the 27-nation bloc is being "an honest negotiating partner."

Merkel told reporters after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday that the talks on Turkey's 25-year effort to join the EU would "continue regardless of the questions that still need to be clarified."

On Tuesday, Erdogan told a political seminar in Berlin that Turkey might lose interest in becoming an EU member if it doesn't join by 2023.

He has previously set that year — the centenary of the founding of the Turkish republic — as the year for Turkey to become a global economic and political power.