German, French Leaders Emphasize Opposition to Turkey Joining EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on May 10 reiterated their opposition to Turkey joining the EU as the two leaders geared up for next month’s European Parliament elections. Merkel, who has advocated having a vaguely defined partnership with Turkey, said at an event organized by her conservative Christian Democrats before the June 7 European Parliament vote that Turkey began EU membership negotiations in 2005, but progress has since largely ground to a halt because of disagreements over the divided island of Cyprus and strong opposition in some member countries like France, Germany and Austria. To date, however, no country has blocked the talks. Sarkozy, a longtime opponent of Turkish membership, last week advocated discussing a common economic and security forum with Turkey as an alternative.

 European conservative parties have always been skeptical of Turkey’s membership. Turkey took its important steps towards membership when social democratic governments were in charge in France and Germany.

Source: Today’s Zaman

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