Sarkozy renews opposition to Turkey's entry into EU

5th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday reasserted his opposition to Turkey's entry into the European Union after his US counterpart Barack Obama backed Ankara's membership bid.

PARIS - "When it comes to the European Union, it's up to member states of the European Union to decide" on membership, Sarkozy told a French television interview from Prague where he was attending an EU-US summit.

"I have always been opposed to this entry and I remain opposed," he said.

Sarkozy's remarks came after Obama threw his weight behind Turkey's bid to join the 27-member bloc, saying that it would "firmly anchor" the mainly Muslim country to Europe.

The French leader has long argued that Turkey has no place in the European Union, arguing that geographically it belongs in Asia.

In his remarks to TF1 television, Sarkozy even went so far as to say that "the great majority of member states share France's position" and are not in favour of allowing Turkey into the EU.

"Turkey is a great country, a European ally and an ally of the United States. It must remain a privileged partner. My position has not changed," he added.

Sarkozy last year launched the Mediterranean Union, a new grouping of countries from Europe, the Middle East and north Africa in a move seen as a French bid to reach out to Turkey without offering EU membership.

Despite Sarkozy's opposition, France has not moved to block EU membership negotiations with Turkey, which began in 2005 and have been moving slowly.


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