28th Nov 2023

Chirac sets three conditions for Turkey’s EU bid

French president Jacques Chirac has suggested three conditions before EU membership talks with Turkey can begin.

First, it must be clear to Turkey that negotiations could end with much less than full EU membership, Mr Chirac has insisted, according to the Financial Times.

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Mr Chirac has also underlined the ultimate right of the French people to reject Turkish EU membership in a referendum.

Finally, the president has asked for accession talks not to start until the second half of 2005.

The last demand is to make sure that the discussion on Turkish EU membership is separate from the debate on the EU constitution.

A French referendum on the Constitution is expected already in Spring of next year.

"If there is a link between Turkey and the constitution, we will lose the referendum. It's as simple as that", the French foreign minister Michel Barnier was quoted saying by the Financial Times.

German opposition worried over EU future

The debate about Turkey's EU membership continues in the EU's largest member state, Germany.

The leaders of the CDU and CSU, Angela Merkel and Edmund Stoiber, have sent a letter to the German Chancellor, out of "great concern" about Europe’s future.

In it, they ask Gerhard Schröder to prevent membership negotiations with Turkey, due to be agreed at the end of next week, from leading to full EU membership.

Putin in Ankara

While EU countries are internally split over the future course towards Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Sunday evening for a two-day historic visit to Turkey - the first visit by a Russian president since 1972.

President Putin and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer are expected to sign a joint declaration aimed at deepening friendship and partnership.

The bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Russia is expected to reach 10 billion US dollars by the end of this year, according to Turkish Press.


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