French Senate commission: Don't make Turkey domestic political item

July 14, 2011, Thursday/ 00:20:00

A French Senate commission has urged French politicians to avoid using Turkey as an item on the domestic political agenda in the upcoming presidential elections, warning of “irreparable damage” to France's ties with Turkey.

A report released by the French Senate Commission for European Affairs criticized French politicians who make statements against Turkey and said these statements cause irreparable damage to relations between Turkey and France, the Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday. The commission said it hopes next year's presidential elections will not be a showcase of politicians who make Turkey a part of the domestic political agenda in order to boost their electoral campaign.

France is a staunch opponent of Turkey's European Union membership bid and has blocked several EU negotiation chapters in protest of Turkey's refusal to open its air and sea ports to Greek Cypriot aircraft and vessels as the EU candidate country pledged in the Ankara Protocol, which was appended to the Ankara Agreement in 2005.

The report said worsening relations between Turkey and France are not to the benefit of the EU member country and that Turkey is an important country from a geopolitical perspective and a nation with impressive economic growth, dynamism and growing cultural influence. According to the report, it is not desirable for France to see a Turkey that turns away from the reform process and said despite reforms Turkey has realized in the past few years that there are still some steps that need to be taken for Turkey to reach European standards.

The commission said in the report that it is also not a desirable situation to see Turkey distancing itself from its goal of moving toward Europe because of a halt in EU membership talks. The report said it is worrisome to see Turkey losing its courage in EU membership talks and that it would be regrettable if doors closed on Turkey. “We need to explain this fact to our public regardless of their views,” the commission said in the report.

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