Turkey not to oppose French NATO return over EU row

France was a founding member of NATO but left the integrated command in 1966 when Charles de Gaulle rejected US dominance of the military alliance.

Turkey not to oppose French NATO return over EU row
The Turkish government said Monday it would not seek to block France's return to NATO command despite French objections to Ankara's European Union integration, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"We do not find it ethical or suitable to link the EU process with any other issue," Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin was quoted as saying after a cabinet meeting here.

He was responding to a question about whether Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, would use its power of veto in the alliance to persuade France to drop its opposition to Ankara becoming an EU member.

France was a founding member of NATO but left the integrated command in 1966 when Charles de Gaulle rejected US dominance of the military alliance.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced France's reintegration during a major speech on defence on June 17.

Sarkozy is a vocal opponent of Turkey's membership bid, saying it "does not belong in Europe" because its population is Muslim.

Sahin said Ankara expected Paris to work towards pushing the accession process forward when it takes over the bloc's rotating presidency for six months on Tuesday.

"Our expectation from the French presidency is to continue our membership negotiations in transparency and in line with the principle that agreements must be kept," Sahin added.

"We expect France to open talks on more policy chapters during its six-month tenure," he said.

Agencies

Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2008, 14:18
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