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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More