against early Turkish EU membership
new foreign minister Michel Barnier has caused a furore by saying
that France would oppose Turkey's entry into the EU "under
former European Commissioner, who was named foreign minister after
a government reshuffle last week, told French parliament on Wednesday
(7 April) that Ankara has not met the conditions necessary for membership.
does not respect the conditions, even if it is preparing to do so,"
he said, adding that there was "no question" of Turkey's
joining the EU "under current circumstances."
was joined in his comments by Alain Juppé, leader of the
centre-right UMP and a close associate of French President Jacques
Juppé said countries on the periphery of the growing EU,
such as Turkey, "have no business joining (the bloc), otherwise
it will be diluted."
UMP does not want to see discussions with Turkey at the end of the
comments caused uproar in the Turkish media, however Turkish politicians
have attempted to play them down.
exaggerated words can be said for reasons related to domestic politics,"
said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, according to the Anatolia news
France’s words are significant as all member states have to
give the nod of approval when the decision is taken at the end of
the year on Ankara’s eligibility for starting membership negotiations.
the mainly Muslim country does have friends in the EU. Both Germany
and the UK have spoken out strongly in favour of beginning membership
negotiations with the country if it meets the political criteria
states will take the decision at the end of this year based on a
report by the European Commission to be published in October.
by Honor Mahony
of Armenians of Europe
de Treves 10, 1050 Brussels
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