Sarkozy's advisor holds talks in Turkey

29th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, May 29, 2007 (AFP) - A top advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks in Turkey at the weekend over Ankara's drive to join the European Union which the French leader opposes, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday.

ANKARA, May 29, 2007 (AFP) - A top advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks in Turkey at the weekend over Ankara's drive to join the European Union which the French leader opposes, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday.

Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser, met with officials from the foreign ministry and from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office to "hold a general evaluation of Turkish-French ties", the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"Since Turkey's EU membership bid is one of the most important aspects of bilateral ties, it was also discussed," she said, without elaborating.

Sarkozy is a vocal opponent of Ankara's eventual membership to the EU, arguing that most of Turkey's territory is in Asia and that the idea of a united Europe would be diluted if its borders stretch that far.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels last week, the French leader, who took office earlier May, said he would not drop his opposition to having Turkey as an EU member, an opinion already voiced during the election campaign.

"I don't see how you can be a candidate with one opinion and a president with another," he said. "I don't think that Turkey has a place in the Union."

Turkey has denounced Sarkozy's stance and urged the 27-member pan-European bloc to open more chapters in its troubled accession talks.

In December the European Union froze talks with Turkey in eight of the 35 policy areas that candidates are required to complete in response to Ankara's refusal to grant trade privileges to bloc member Cyprus.

Ending a long hiatus in the talks, the EU last month began negotiations with Turkey on "enterprise and industry policy," only the second chapter Ankara has managed to open since "science and research" in June 2006.

Ankara hopes to begin negotiations in three more chapters -- economic and monetary policy, statistics and financial control -- in June.

Turkish diplomatic sources believe France will not try to block the opening of more talks since the chapters in question are largely technical.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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