Turkish press wary of Sarkozy's win

7th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - Turkish newspapers Monday raised the possibility of a risk to Ankara's ambitions to join the European Union and bilateral ties with Paris after rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential poll.

ANKARA, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - Turkish newspapers Monday raised the possibility of a risk to Ankara's ambitions to join the European Union and bilateral ties with Paris after rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential poll.

"Alas! It is Sarko," the popular Aksam daily said on its front page while the Milliyet newspaper said: "Sarkozy the new obstacle on the path towards EU."

Sarkozy's election "will increase the potential of already chilly Turkish-French ties to worsen," Milliyet said.

"But it is not impossible for Sarkozy, who is more of a pragmatic politician than an ideologue, to change his stance once he becomes president," it added.

In his election campaign which won him 53 percent of the vote in Sunday's polls, Sarkozy often spoke out against Turkey's ambitions to become an EU member, arguing that Ankara "has no place" inside the bloc.

The popular Vatan daily said Sarkozy's election would prove a "turning point" in Turkey's troubled ties with the European Union.

"If he implements what he has so far said, Turkish-EU ties will be dragged into a tense adventure. Such a tense situation has the potential to affect Turkish-French ties," it said.

Bilateral ties between Ankara and Paris took a blow in October last year when the French National Assembly passed a bill that makes it a jailable offense to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians during World War I.

The bill, which has yet to go before the Senate and then back to the lower house before becoming law, angered Turkey which categorically rejects that the killings of Armenians constituted genocide.

According to the Turkish press, Sarkozy also said that if he was elected president, he would sign the bill into law as opposed to outgoing President Jacques Chirac.

Semih Idiz, a political commentator writing in Milliyet, said Sarkozy was a "coarse representation of the basic fears and concerns of the French people" on issues such as the integration of Muslims and immigrants as well as Turkey's eventual EU membership.

"The real fear of Sarkozy and people who think alike is a growing Turkey that can compete and has a greater strategic importance than France," he said.

"The rise of a Muslim-populated country and the possibility of it having an equal say with France in the EU cannot be easy to swallow for 'sugar-coated crypto-fascists'," he added.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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