US to Convey Position on Turkeys EU Bid to Sarkozy

ANKARA (Zaman)–Washington has voiced determination and continuity in its support for Turkey’s European Union membership while noting that the eventual decision concerning Turkey’s accession into the bloc would be made by the EU member countries. At a daily press briefing on Monday, Greek journalist reminded US State Department deputy spokesperson Tom Casey of a planned visit by French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, whose firm stance against Turkey’s EU bid is well known, to Berlin this week in order to hold talks with EU term president Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Sarkozy and Merkel are united for clearer ties with the US government and both strongly oppose Turkish accession into the EU," the journalist said, who also asked "how the US is going to convince them to reverse their position, since the US is in favor of full Turkish accession to the EU."I’m not going to try and jump into EU politics. As we’ve always said the choices of who belongs to the EU are up to the members of the EU to decide. As you know though, we do have and continue to strongly support Turkey’s candidacy for membership in the EU. That’s certainly a position that we’ve conveyed to Chancellor Merkel. I’m sure it’s a position that we will have the opportunity to convey to President-elect Sarkozy," Casey said in response. Remarks by Casey were the first clear signal of constant support from Washington for Turkey’s EU bid following Sarkozy’s victory on May 6. Soon after the elections Ankara said that Sarkozy will eventually "come to his senses" concerning the strategic vitality of Turkey’s relations with both France and the EU — noting that assuming the full responsibility of the presidential office is different than staging popular election propaganda on the streets, although the new French president’s opposition to Turkey’s EU bid formed a definite part of his pitch to attract the same voters that rejected the EU constitution in 2005.

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