First Published: 2006-10-06

 
Sarkozy: Turkey's EU entry would end political Europe
 

French interior minister says Turkey’s entry into EU would worsen problem of Muslim integration in Europe.

 

Middle East Online

It would be a high price to pay

PARIS - French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy said Turkey's entry into the European Union would "be the end of political Europe" and suggested it would worsen the "problem" of Muslim integration in the continent, in an interview to be published Thursday.

"It would be the end of political Europe" if Turkey joined the European bloc, Sarkozy, France's interior minister, told the magazine Le Meilleur des Mondes, calling instead for a "privileged partnership" with the EU's southeastern neighbour.

Outlining what he saw as dangerous implications for the EU's world political clout, Sarkozy said that Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush supported Turkey joining the EU because they didn't want "a political Europe".

Turkey began talks with Brussels last year with a view to joining the 25-nation bloc, which is due to absorb a further two members, Bulgaria and Romania, on January 1.

Sarkozy also explained his opposition to welcoming Ankara into the EU fold by citing what he said was the already existing "problem" of integrating Muslims into Europe.

"We have a problem of integration of Muslims which raises the issue of Islam in Europe. To say it is not a problem is to hide from reality. If you let 100 million Turkish Muslims come in, what will come of it?" the magazine quoted him as saying.

The minister, who heads the ruling right-wing UMP party and has declared he will run for president in next year's elections, also expressed concern that shifting Europe's border southeast would bring it closer to violent conflicts in the region.

"Turkey is in Asia Minor... I will not explain to little French school children that the frontiers of Europe are Iraq and Syria," Sarkozy said, naming two of Turkey's southeastern neighbours.

If the EU accepts Turkey, "we will have made the Kurdish problem a European problem. Wonderful!" he said, apparently referring to the bloody conflict between Turkish authorities and militants demanding self-rule for the country's ethnic Kurdish population.

Once the Kurdish issue is admitted as a European problem, "it remains to make Hamas and Hezbollah European problems" too, he argued, referring to the Palestinian governing party and the Lebanon-based Shiite militant movement.

Expanding his theoretical argument further, Sarkozy raised the prospect of former French colonies in north Africa, such as Morocco and Tunisia, also joining Europe.

"Then Europe, which will become a sub-region of the United Nations, will no longer exist," he said. "If to stabilise Turkey we must destabilise Europe, I say that's a high price to pay."

 

Saudi King sets up new state security agency

Hezbollah launches Syria border operation

Intensifying Jihadist-rebel clashes in Syria's Idlib

Police fire tear gas to disperse Morocco protest

Foreign food chains hoping for taste of Iran market

Three Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem

Nearly 360 injured in Turkey by magnitude 6.7 quake

UN says Saudi to blame for deadly Yemen strike on civilians

Germany reviews arms sales to Turkey

China calls for Gulf crisis talks

Israel bars men under 50 from Jerusalem Old City prayers

Rebel ambush kills 28 regime fighters near Damascus

Turkey slams 'dangerous' Cyprus energy plans

Saudi prince 'arrested over leaked abuse videos'

Israel boosts 'security measures' as Al-Aqsa tensions simmer

Kuwait expels Iranian diplomats over 'terror' cell

Germany vows to overhaul Turkey ties as row escalates

Home cooked meals a relief for fighters in Syria's Raqa

US maintains designation of Iran as top 'state sponsor'

US halting support for Syria rebels

30 civilians dead in anti-IS strikes in Syria

Palestinian civilians urge ICC to speed up probe

Turkey PM opts for stability in light cabinet reshuffle

UN aid flight carrying journalists barred from Yemen

Former IS slaves fight for revenge in Raqa

US, Iran trade tit-for-tat sanctions

20 Yemeni civilians killed in air strike

14 killed in opposition infighting in Syria's Idlib

Morocco sentences 25 to prison over W. Sahara killings

Egypt police kill top militants

Heavy rainfall hits Istanbul causing transport chaos

Palestinians protest Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa compound

Saudi police question woman who wore miniskirt

Rebels, US-backed Kurds clash in northern Syria

Netanyahu says Hungary is 'standing up for' Israel

Lebanon army to launch operation near Syria border

Morocco delays currency reform amid speculation

Iran parliament vows to fight US 'adventurism'

4 killed in suicide car bomb at Kurdish checkpoint in Syria

Israel opposes Syria truce deal over Iran presence

Egypt to end visas on arrival for Qatari citizens

Erdogan to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Turkey court refuses to free six rights activists

Trump keeps Iran deal, but sanctions will stay in place

UAE FM warns Qatar is 'undermining' GCC allies