Sarkozy to make 'very short' Turkey visit: diplomat
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a vocal opponent of Turkey's EU bid, is to pay a "very short visit" to Ankara next week even though his hosts wanted him to stay longer, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday.
Sarkozy, expected on February 25, will travel to the Turkish capital in his capacity as the current chairman of the G-20 group of leading economies for a visit of "five or six hours," the diplomat, who asked not to be named, told reporters.
"We had wanted a longer visit... but it seems he (Sarkozy) wants it to be a very short visit," he said.
The diplomat expressed hope the two sides would find time to discuss issues other than those related to the G-20 group.
France argues that Turkey, a mainly Muslim country of about 73 million people, does not belong to Europe and should settle for a special partnership with the European Union rather than full membership.
It has blocked accession talks with Turkey in several of the 35 policy areas that candidates must negotiate, atop eight chapters the EU has frozen in a trade row with Ankara over Cyprus.
Turkish-French ties have been strained also by the French parliament's recognition of Ottoman massacres of Armenians during World War I as "genocide," a label that Ankara fiercely rejects.
© 2011 AFP