Thursday

11th Aug 2022

Turkey angered by Sarkozy 'Mediterranean Union' idea

  • Ankara - slipping away from Europe? (Photo: Wikipedia)

Turkey has strongly criticised a proposal, floated by France's new president Nicolas Sarkozy, to set up a "Mediterranean Union" as an alternative to the country's bid for full EU membership, urging the French leader to respect the commitments of the past.

"Turkey is a country that has started [accession] negotiations with the European Union. The negotiations started on the basis of a [EU] decision which was taken unanimously, including France," Turkey's foreign minister Abdullah Gul was cited as saying by AFP.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to Mr Gul, who has steered Turkey's EU accession talks, "putting obstacles to the progress of the negotiation process would amount to violating signatures and promises made in the past, which I do not think will happen."

Nicolas Sarkozy - known as a firm opponent of Ankara's EU bid – has already indicated he will push for a definition of the bloc's "stable" borders and a re-orientation of talks with the sizeable and relatively poor Muslim country.

The new French leader has suggested forming a loose grouping of 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, with Turkey to be the backbone of the club.

Under Mr Sarkozy's plan, the group – in order to tie southern Europe with Israel and its Arab neighbors – would form an EU-like council with a rotating presidency and deal with topical issues such as energy, security, counter-terrorism, immigration and trade.

But the idea has met with anger in Ankara, with Mr Gul saying "Turkey is one of the Mediterranean countries, but cooperation in the Mediterranean is one thing and cooperation within Europe is something else."

Ankara began negotiations to join the 27-nation bloc in 2005, but talks on most of the key issues are presently frozen because of Turkey's long-standing dispute with EU member Cyprus.

So far, Turkey has completed compliance with EU legislation in only one area - science and research.

Opinion

Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox

There's unprecedented international anxiety about the safety of Ukraine's nuclear reactors, but many European countries are also turning to nuclear power to secure energy supplies.

Almost two-thirds of Europe in danger of drought

Data released by the European Drought Observatory show 60 percent of Europe and the United Kingdom is currently in a state of drought, with farming, homes and industry being affected. Drought conditions have also led to an increase in wildfires.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us