EU should engage more with Turkey, says French President Macron

EU should engage more with Turkey, says French President Macron

PARIS - Anadolu Agency

The European Union should pursue “strategic partnerships” with Turkey and Russia in taking responsibility for its own defense and reducing its reliance on the United States, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Aug. 30.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Helsinki alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Macron said “our interest with Turkey as well as with Russia is to have a strategic partnership which enables to stabilize the relationship with the European Union in the long term.”

“Stability in the whole region is in our interest,” he added.

Remarks Macron made earlier this week angered Turkey and drew sharp criticism from the Ankara government.

During the Ambassadors Conference in Paris on Aug. 27, Macron questioned Turkey’s EU membership.

“There is a need to build a strategic partnership with Turkey instead of granting it EU membership,” he argued.

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a pan-Islamic project that is contrary to our European values. President Erdoğan’s Turkey is not President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Turkey anymore” Macron said.

“Statements issued by Macron have shown once again he is far from understanding the realities of Turkey although they have been explained to him repeatedly in almost all platforms,” Hami Aksoy, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry said on Aug. 28 in response to the French president.