Erdogan warns Sarkozy on EU

Turkish PM wants Nicolas Sarkozy to reconsider his stance on Turkey's EU membership.

    Nicolas Sarkozy is opposed to Turkish membership of the EU [EPA]

    "My people have concerns vis-à-vis the European Union … The negative stance of a country [on Turkey's accession] leads to a negative stance against that country here."
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    Turkey had to adopt far-reaching democracy reforms for EU accession talks in October 2005.
    But Ankara's refusal to allow Greek Cypriot aircraft into its ports and airports led to its collapse.
    Erdogan acknowledged Turkey's failure to build closer ties with France. He said that Ankara failed to explain their historically close political relations and economic exchanges.
    Firm Secularist
    Erdogan rejected his opponents' claims he is trying to take Turkey away from a secular path.
    He has long denied claims he is trying to boost the role of religion in society, but secularists deeply distrust him and his ruling AKP party.
    "It would be a mistake to pit secularism against Islam," he said, commenting on mass rallies that have been held in Turkey over the past few weeks.
    Erdogan noted that protestors had carried banners saying "No to a military coup, no to Sharia (Islamic) law", and said his government fully shared that sentiment.

    SOURCE: Agencies.


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