Sarkozy wants Turkey EU bid referendum

27th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 26 (AFP) - The rising star of French politics Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday that Turkey's membership in the European Union should be put to a referendum.

PARIS, Sept 26 (AFP) - The rising star of French politics Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday that Turkey's membership in the European Union should be put to a referendum.  

"At best, Turkish membership cannot come in less than 15 years," he said on French radio, but said if Ankara completes entry talks a referendum should be held "in order to find out what the French think."   

Sarkozy, seen as a possible candidate in French presidential elections due in 2007, was speaking after the Turkish parliament passed a far-reaching overhaul of the country's penal code, clearing a major obstacle to Turkey's bid to start accession talks with the European Union.  

The European Commission is due to issue its recommendation next month and a final decision on opening talks is due to be taken at an EU summit in December.  

Sarkozy said his "reservations" over Turkish membership were "not because it is a Muslim country ... but because it represents the equivalent of 10 new east European countries joining."   

But he stressed the importance of "not giving the impression of rejecting (Turkey)", and advocated the status of an associate partner for the country.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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