Sarkozy wants Turkey to stay out of EU
The French president says he will order a referendum on Turkish membership if necessary.25 April 2008
PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday reaffirmed his opposition to Turkey joining the European Union and said he would order a referendum on Turkish membership if necessary.
His comments came a day after his government said it would scrap a constitutional amendment that requires France to hold a referendum on any future enlargement of the EU.
"I have always been opposed to the entry of Turkey" into the EU, he said in a television interview. "Turkey is not in Europe," the president declared.
Sarkozy said that if Turkey's membership of the EU became a serious issue while he was president, he would call a referendum.
But the French leader said he was also against holding automatic referendums each time a new member joins the EU. The cabinet on Wednesday approved plans to change the constitution so that France does not have to hold a public vote each time a new country wants to join the EU.
"If tomorrow the Swiss want to come into Europe, we are not going to contest the fact that they are Europeans" and hold a referendum, Sarkozy said in the interview.
"You cannot have a France that tells its 26 European partners: Excuse us, we cannot decide anything because of the referendum."
Sarkozy has repeatedly said Turkey, which has embarked on preliminary talks with the EU, "does not belong in Europe", arguing that most of its land mass is in Asia.
Polls indicate most French back Sarkozy's stance.
[AFP / Expatica]