Turkish PM upbeat on French, German talks on EU bid
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped Turkey's bid to join the EU would be advanced
MADRID, Jan 15, 2008 - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said
he hoped Turkey's bid to join the EU would be advanced by an upcoming
summit with Germany and France, which he confirmed would happen in May.
"In May I will meet with the leaders of France and Germany in Germany and I
believe we will advance a bit on this issue," Erdogan told journalists in
Last week Erdogan announced he would hold three-way talks with French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Turkey's
European Union membership bid without giving a date for the meeting.
Erdogan said the meeting would allow him to discuss Turkey's membership bid
directly with Sarkozy, who was elected in May and who is openly opposed to
letting a relatively poor overwhelmingly Muslim nation join the block.
"Sarkozy based his election campaign on Turkey. We don't want to talk
through the press, we want to talk about it directly. But he continues talking
through the press," Erdogan said, speaking via a Spanish interpreter.
Germany, meanwhile, advocates a special partnership with Turkey rather than
its full-fledged accession to the bloc.
Turkey started formal EU membership talks in October 2005 but the bloc
froze negotiations on eight of 35 policy fields that candidates are required
to complete a year later in response to Ankara's refusal to grant trade
privileges to Cyprus.
Ankara does not recognise Cyrpus, an EU member since 2004.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reiterated his backing
for Turkey's membership in the bloc after holding talks later on Monday with
"Spain supports and will support Turkey's entry into the EU. It is a
decision which will be of huge importance over the coming years in terms of
the future of the EU and international