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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs