Erdogan criticizes Sarkozy, due in Turkey

Turkey complained of getting short shrift from France's President Nicolas Sarkozy as he is due to arrive for talks.

Erdogan criticizes Sarkozy, due in Turkey

Turkey complained of getting short shrift from France's President Nicolas Sarkozy as he is due to arrive for talks that were unlikely to touch on what matters most to Ankara, namely EU membership.

Sarkozy, who has voiced opposition in the past to "Muslim" Turkey's bid to join the European Union, was due to visit Ankara on Friday in his capacity as current president of the Group of 20 forum, rather than on a state visit.

French President Sarkozy recently said that Turkey's entrance into the EU was not a right thing and that such an entrance would benefit neither the EU nor Turkey.

"As such, we need to find a special solution for Turkey," Sarkozy had said.

The visit was only scheduled to last a few hours, and officials including Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan voiced disappointment that Sarkozy had not made more time for them.

I would like to speak frankly. We would have liked to welcome the President of the French Republic, but on Friday he is not coming as president of the French Republic, but as chairman of the G20," Erdogan told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Thursday.

"So, I think this is not a visit that corresponds to the height of the friendship between France and Turkey," he said. "Turkey and Turkish-French relations deserve more than that."

"Sarkozy's approach wrong"

Erdogan also said Thursday that Sarkozy's approach to Turkey was very wrong.

Speaking on private ATV TV channel on Thursday, Erdogan said that Turkey time and time again warned Sarkozy about his comments on Turkey's EU process.

We warned Sarkozy about his remarks on Turkey and the EU many times. I will remind him about his comments when he comes to Turkey tomorrow (Friday), Erdogan said.

The EU needs Turkey and vice versa. However, if the EU does not want Turkey, it should indicate so. We will go on on our own path, Erdogan said.

Erdogan went on to point out that both he and President Abdullah Gul had made official visits to France, whereas Sarkozy had not visited Turkey during his time in office.

Gul told the French daily Le Figaro in January that Sarkozy has "an image of Turkey that does not correspond with reality".

Erdogan and Gul were due to meet separately with Sarkozy, to discuss the G20 agenda, and foreign policy issues, ranging from the Middle East peace process, the change in government in Lebanon and the negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme.

Agencies

Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2011, 11:19
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