Turkey urges France not to exploit EU bid

21st October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 21 (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called on France not to exploit Turkey's bid to join the European Union for domestic political ends.

PARIS, Oct 21 (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called on France not to exploit Turkey's bid to join the European Union for domestic political ends.

Erdogan said Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi "had already responded in the right way, by saying 'I will not make Turkey a domestic political issue.' In the same way I think that Turkey should also not become a domestic political issue in France."

The Turkish leader was speaking at the Paris-based OECD, which has just published a report on the state of country's economy.

He again described as unjustified a decision by French President Jacques Chirac to change the constitution to allow French people to vote on Turkey's adhesion in a referendum.

"What we have been trying to explain for months, above all else, is that holding a referendum (in an EU country) is not among the criteria for adhesion to the EU," he said.

"For years we have been present in other international organisations alongside France. Why not the EU? That is what I want them to think about," he said.

A clear majority of the French public is opposed to Turkish entry to the EU, and the French government fears the issue will influence a referendum planned for next year on the EU's new constitutional treaty.

Chirac has said that Turkey's eventual admission to the European Union is to be welcomed, but has added it would take between 10 and 15 years for the country to carry out the reforms required by Brussels.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article