Turkey criticises Sarkozy proposal on Palestinians

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Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc dismissed a proposal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the United Nations to grant Palestine as a non-member state but not a full member.

"It seems that certain countries have not changed their ideas, because of the influence of Israel," Arinc told reporters in Brussels.

"What Sarkozy said regarding Palestine is comparable to what he has said regarding Turkey, when he proposed that it not be a full member of the European Union," he added.

France and Germany proposed that Turkey have an "alternative partnership" with the European Union, something Ankara has always rejected in the course of its negotiations for full membership.

Of the Palestinians bid to the United Nations Security Council for full UN membership, Arinc said: "I hope that the proposal for Palestine to become a full member will be accepted by the Council."

On Wednesday, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Sarkozy called on the United Nations to admit Palestine as a non-member state, upgrading its status as a simple observer but opposing a Palestinian bid for full membership.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his speech to the assembly, called Thursday for international "pressure" on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Turkey's diplomatic relations with Israel have steadily deteriorated since an Israeli commando raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla to Gaza in May 2010 left nine Turks dead.

Earlier this month, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador, froze military ties and defence trade deals and threatened to send warships to escort any Turkish vessels trying to reach Hamas-ruled Gaza.

© 2011 AFP

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