Ankara pinning hopes on Hollande in France
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
In this Dec 21, 2009 photo Turkey’s FM Ahmet Davutoglu speaks after a meeting concerning Turkey’s accession to the EU at the EU block’s headquarters in Brussels. REUTERS photo
Turkey is keeping a close eye on France’s presidential race, because Ankara is hoping that a possible victory for François Hollande will lead to the lifting of France’s veto on the opening of new chapters in Turkey’s EU accession talks, according to Turkish diplomats.
The prospect has prompted Ankara to begin preparations on several chapters, dealing mostly with financial issues such as monetary policy, sources said. Socialist candidate Hollande has been much less skeptical about Turkey’s eventual accession to the EU than has current President Nicholas Sarkozy. If he becomes the president of France this could create a window of opportunity for revitalizing Turkey’s stalled membership negotiations, according to diplomats. Only 13 of the 35 chapters necessary to Turkey’s EU accession have been opened, and only one has been closed. There has been almost no progress in Turkey’s negotiations with the EU and no new chapters have been opened since 2010.
When asked about Turkey’s accession to the EU during his campaign, Hollande has said there would be no Turkish accession during the next five-year presidential term. Turkish diplomats assess these comments as election campaign rhetoric, pointing out that indeed Turkey could not enter the EU during the next five years given the accession process itself.