Haigner Says Turkey Should Not Take Referendum Personally

(Combined Sources)–The French Minister Delegate for European Affairs Claudie Haigner–expressed support for a French parliamentary decision that will require a referendum prior to the entry of any new members into the European Union (EU).

Though the law would impact Turkey and its hopes to join the EU–Haigner dismissed claims that the move was a "discriminatory" measure aimed at Turkey.

Speaking at a joint press conference late on Monday following her meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul–Haigner emphasized that the French Parliament’s decision–which is likely to be finalized by the French Senate–was not a "double standard" directed solely towards the Turkish people.

"It’s not possible to discriminate against any potential EU partner," Haigner was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. She added that a referendum would be held prior to Croatia’s admittance and that Britain’s EU membership had also been voted on in a referendum in the past.

A member of the Turkish Parliamentary Adjustment Commission Onur Oymen’said–"a referendum is something against Turkey. We understand France’s internal policy requiremen’s–but Turkey does not want to pay the cost. The referendum will affect negatively Turkey’s membership [to the EU]–as well as Turkish-French friendship."

Oymen also revealed that while in France earlier this week–he was told by many that–"if Turkey does not recognize the Armenian genocide–it will not join the EU. This may affect Turkey-France relations negatively," he said.

Haigner stressed that the idea of holding a referendum was initially suggested by French President Jacques Chirac–as it paved the way for him to be able to support the Dec. 17 EU decision to open entry talks with Turkey on Oct. 3 in the face of opposition to the idea in France.

Chirac–who is known to favor Turkey’s EU entry–has been facing political isolation in his own country as he has been confronted with strong opposition from both the public and his own center-right Union for People’s Movement (UMP) party for his support of Turkey’s EU membership hopes.

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