Ankara hopeful about French ties after polls

Ankara hopeful about French ties after polls

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara hopeful about French ties after polls

Right-wing incumbent candidate Sarkozy adresses his supporters after losing the election in Paris. Ties between Ankara and Paris were severely damaged during Sarkozy era.

The election of François Hollande as France’s President will not repair bilateral Turkish-French relations overnight, according to Turkish officials, who urge the new French leadership not to link Turkey’s accession to full membership in the European Union with Armenian genocide claims.

“Turkey and France have never been hostile with each other, and we have no such intention now,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters in Slovenia Monday, expressing his hopes that relations will improve during Hollande’s presidency. Blaming Nicholas Sarkozy for the deterioration of bilateral ties, Erdoğan said he would like to see a new era dawn between the two countries with the election of Hollande. “I hope… the re-establishment of ties will also correct errors committed against Turkey in its EU membership process,” he said.

“No one should wait to see a rosy picture,” diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News. “There are so many things Paris needs to do before we declare reconciliation.”

Ties between Ankara and Paris were severely damaged during Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidency due to the French leader’s strong opposition to Turkish membership in the EU and an attempt by his government to criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide. Though the legislation has been annulled by the French Constitutional Council, Turkey will not immediately remove the mainly military sanctions it has imposed on France.

“We will first have to see the outcome of the French parliamentary elections in June,” Erdoğan said in response to questions about the sanctions. Erdoğan did not hesitate to urge France’s new leader to leave behind all the populist rhetoric he used during the election campaign, particularly with regard to the alleged Armenian genocide. “I wish statements like ‘Turkey cannot join the EU before it resolves its problems with Armenia’ had not been made,” Erdoğan said, and advised the French leadership to leave history to historians.

France has blocked five of the 33 negotiation chapters of Turkey’s EU membership talks. Sources said the new leadership’s stance on the blocked chapters will be a crucial indicator for the future state of bilateral relations.