Turkish PM in France to rally EUmembership support

19th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, July 19 (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday left for talks with French leaders to gain their support ahead of a decision by the European Union on his country's membership bid.

ANKARA, July 19 (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday left for talks with French leaders to gain their support ahead of a decision by the European Union on his country's membership bid.  

"In the light of recent developments, I feel I must myself explain what steps we have taken in order to align ourselves with the EU and where we are in terms of implementation" of reforms, Erdogan told reporters at Ankara airport before his departure.  

"I will ask for the continuation of their support for us on the path towards the EU's December summit" when EU leaders will decide whether to open accession talks with Turkey, he added.  

During the visit - his first to France as prime minister - Erdogan will meet French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin, President Jacques Chirac as well as ruling and opposition parties.  

His talks come amid cracks within the French leadership on whether Brussels should allow Turkey - a vast, relatively poor country with an overwhelmingly Muslim popuation but a strictly secular system - to become a member.  

Turkey has been a candidate for membership since 1999 but is the only country so far that has failed to sit down at the negotiatiing table with the Union.  

In October the European Commission is due to give its opinion on the opening of negotiations with the country and EU leaders will decide in December whether Ankara has made enough progress to begin membership talks.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments To This Article