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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs