BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Europe  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 18:48 GMT
Turkey entry 'would destroy EU'
Valery Giscard d'Estaing
Turkey "is not a European country" says Giscard
The man shaping the future constitution of the European Union was quoted on Friday as saying Turkey's entry into the EU would be "the end of Europe".


Its capital is not in Europe, 95% of its population live outside Europe, it is not a European country

Valery Giscard d'Estaing
Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing told Le Monde newspaper that people who backed Turkey's accession were "the adversaries of the European Union".

But the Turkish foreign ministry hit back, saying that Turkey was unquestionably part of Europe, and describing Mr Giscard d'Estaing's "personal views" as regrettable.

Mr Giscard d'Estaing told Le Monde that Turkey's capital was not in Europe, 95% of its population lived outside Europe, and it was "not a European country".

Asked what the effect of including Turkey in a future wave of European enlargement would be, he said: "In my opinion, it would be the end of Europe."

He proposed instead a co-operation pact similar to the one presented to Ukraine.

Correspondents say there is continuing debate among member countries about whether Turkey is culturally and geographically compatible with the European Union - and that a broad strand of opinion that says it is not.

Ping-pong match


To say such a thing about such a country that is a member of such bodies, is nothing more than emotion

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The BBC's Turkey correspondent, Jonny Dymond, says Mr Giscard d'Estaing's comments come at a bad time for Turkey, just as it felt it was making progress towards getting the EU to set a date for accession talks to begin.

However, the leader of Turkey's victorious AK Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, played down their importance.

"Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, an OECD member and a Nato member," he said.

"To say such a thing about such a country that is a member of such bodies, is nothing more than emotion."

Brussels was also quick to reject the idea that Turkish membership would spell disaster for Europe.

"I don't have any intention of getting into a ping-pong match with Mr Giscard d'Estaing," a spokesman for the EU's executive European Commission, Jean-Christophe Filori, said in Brussels.

But he added: "So is the entry of Turkey in the European Union the end of the European Union? The answer is no."

Christian club

The debate within the EU about Turkey has intensified following Sunday's victory of the AK Party, which has roots in the banned Islamist Virtue Party.

Mr Erdogan says the party is a modern conservative, secular party, and has made clear that the new government's top priority will be to move forward the country's bid to join the EU.

Correspondents say Turkey knows it has to fight against those in Europe who are inclined to regard the EU as a Christian club.

Mr Erdogan is to make his first post-election visit to Greece on 18 November. He and his hosts are both expected to call for the EU to set a date for the start of accession talks at the Copenhagen summit in mid-December.

The proposal has strong backing from the US.

However, EU leaders said at their Brussels summit last month that Turkey had not yet made sufficient progress with political and human rights reforms for membership talks to begin.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Morris reports from Brussels
"Turkey's supporters say it is important to give the country encouragement"

Key stories

Europe's new frontiers

Background

CLICKABLE GUIDES

LaunchIN PICTURES

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

05 Nov 02 | Europe
16 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes