News / Europe

    France Tries to Strengthen Relations With Turkey

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner speaks to the media in Ankara, 12 Oct 2010
    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner speaks to the media in Ankara, 12 Oct 2010

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is visiting Turkey as bilateral relations remain deeply strained over France's opposition to Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

    Relations between France and Turkey have have plummeted since Paris's vetoed key policy negotiations Turkey needs to join the European Union.

    Turkey started entry talks with the European Union five years ago, but negotiations on several policy areas are stalled or suspended because of Turkey's refusal to open its ports to trade with EU member Cyprus. In addition, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has argued Turkey does not belong in Europe

    But during a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says France is willing to help Turkey.

    Kouchner says France is ready, as the Turkish foreign minister has asked for help. In this position there are three more policy areas that can be opened for negotiations to help Turkey to get closer to the EU.

    The three policy areas Kouchner referred to are social policy, employment and competition. Turkey needs to complete negotiations in 35 policy areas to bring its institutions and legislation in line with those of the European Union. But 18 are blocked, mostly due to the impasse over Cyprus.

    Kouchner sidestepped a question over France's opposition to Turkey's EU bid, saying only that France's position is known. But he stressed the ball is in Turkey's court, adding that Ankara needs to introduce more reforms.

    Analysts say among those reforms is opening Turkish ports to Cyprus.

    The Turkish government says it will only do so when an EU embargo against the Turkish Cypriots side of the island is lifted. Davutoglu politely dismissed Kouchner's offer and reiterated Turkey's frustration with France.

    He says talks can cover a great distance in a very fast time if obstacles not in the accordance with the negotiation process are removed. He says when the vetoes are lifted Turkey can complete EU negotiations in two years.

    Davutoglu also reiterated Turkey's complaint the Greek Cypriots were admitted into the European Union after rejecting a U.N. peace deal to reunify the island, which Turkish Cypriots accepted in simultaneous referendums in 2004.

    Despite the smiling faces at the news conference, political scientist Cengiz Aktar says Paris's opposition to Turkey's EU membership is killing its bid.

    "The process is dying with this sort of negative statements, that everybody should understand this," he said. "You know this is a total enmity against Turkey, and France pretends have good bilateral relations with Turkey. This is not true. France has less and less good official relations with Turkey, and that will remain so in the years to come."

    Analysts say that is bad news for Kouchner because a main reason for his visit is to seek Turkish support for French diplomatic initiatives outside Europe. Paris continues to press for the creation of a Mediterranean club of countries, in which it sees Turkey playing a lead role.

    But Ankara remains distinctly cool, suspecting it as an alternative to its EU aspirations.

    Political columnist Murat Yetkin says Paris cannot have it both ways

    "So Turkey will not say that let us forget what you are doing to us in Europe, and we will help you our best in the rest of the world. I do not think that is the equation right now," he said.

    Analysts say it appears the French diplomat's two-day visit will not bring any breakthrough in French-Turkish relations or any surprises.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.