Former French president and head of France’s main opposition party Nicolas Sarkozy said that Turkey has no place in Europe and anyone who regards Turkey to be “culturally, historically, and economically” part of Europe actually wants the European Union’s death.
Sarkozy’s remarks came in an exclusive interview with France’s iTele channel.
“Turkey has no place in Europe. I have always adhered to this position, it is based on common sense. This doesn’t mean that I have anything against the Turks. We need them, they are our allies in NATO. But if we begin to explain it – that Turkey is in Europe – European school students will have to be told that the European border lies in Syria. Where’s common sense?” Sarkozy asked.
Sarkozy was reacting to the recently-signed deal between the EU and Turkey to control the flow of refugees in exchange for accelerated talks for Turkey to join the EU.
“It’s not just that. What’s the idea behind Europe? Europe is a union of European countries. The question is very simple, even in a geographical sense, is Turkey a European country? Turkey has only one shore of the Bosphorus in Europe. Can Turkey be regarded a European country culturally, historically, and economically speaking? If we say that, we want the European Union’s death,” he said.
“From that standpoint, if we talk about Turkey’s accession, let me tell you that in many ways Russia is a much more European country than Turkey.”
Other European politicians responded similarly to Sarkozy.
Politicians from the Christian Social Union, allies to Angela Merkel’s CDU party expressed their opposition to visa-free travel for Turks and the prospects of Ankara joining the EU.
The EU’s negotiating position has undoubtedly worsened over the past months because of the EU’s internal strife on the refugee crisis. The Turks were putting forward new demands and raised the price [of the deal] like at the bazaar,” the CSU’s secretary general, Andreas Scheuer, told Passauer Neue Presse newspaper, adding that “CSU is against Turkey’s EU accession and against a full-scale visa-free regime for all Turks.”