Sarkozy Offers Turkey Alternative to EU Membership

sarkozy-gul1207919493ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday the the European Union should quickly start talks with Turkey on creating a common economic and security forum as an alternative to Turkey’s membership in the bloc.

The 27-member bloc “must cease to dilute itself in endless enlargement” and open talks with Turkey “as of now” toward a common economic and security forum, Sarkozy was quoted by AP as saying a month ahead of June 7 EU elections.

He also said this “great ambition” should be proposed for Russia, too, because Moscow must be considered Europe’s partner not adversary.

Sarkozy is a vocal opponent of Turkey’s entry into the bloc but did not block talks during his term at the helm of the European Union presidency in the second half of 2008.

Turkey began EU membership negotiations in 2005 but progress has since largely ground to a halt because of disagreements over the divided island of Cyprus and strong opposition in some members like France, Germany and Austria.

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