- World Reacts To Sarkozy's Win BBC News
- Sarkozy Drifts Into Controversy BBC News
- What is your reaction to the result? What sort of president will he be? How do you think France could change under his leadership? BBC News
- How To Survive 100 Days Without Riots by Bronwen Maddox
- France closes down armaments office in Turkey
- French Goverment Accuses Far-Left Activists Over Anti-Sarkozy Troubles Reuters
- Breaking The EU And Turkish Political Impasse Lale Sariibrahimoglu
- If Sarkozy’s Reforms Bear Fruit Turkey Will Gain Abdülhamit Bilici
- Could Sarkozy change? Sami Kohen
- We Should Look In The Right Direction Fehmi Koru
World Reacts To Sarkozy's Win BBC News
World leaders have congratulated France's president-elect, Nicolas Sarkozy, on his victory in Sunday's vote. Many hope he will help end deadlock over the EU constitution and boost international efforts on climate change, while the United States is hoping for improved relations. But not everyone was pleased with the result.
Mr Sarkozy has pledged to reform a deadlocked European Union
Mr Sarkozy, seen as a strong ally of Washington, is often described as "Sarko the American" by opponents in France, who criticise his open admiration for American values.
Despite opposing the war in Iraq, Mr Sarkozy has pledged to repair relations between the two nations that were damaged after President Jacques Chirac defied the US over the war. In his victory speech Mr Sarkozy said the US could "count on our friendship".
US President George W Bush called Mr Sarkozy after his victory to congratulate him.
"The United States and France are historic allies and partners. President Bush looks forward to working with President-elect Sarkozy as we continue our strong alliance," US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Mr Sarkozy on his "convincing election victory," spokesman Thomas Steg said.
Ms Merkel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency and is France's traditional partner in the union, also acknowledged Mr Sarkozy's plans to shake up EU processes after French and Dutch voters rejected the proposed constitution in 2005.
"In what is one of the crucial phases for Europe, it is important to continue the close, trusting and intensive co-operation between Germany and France," Mr Steg said.
Diplomats in Brussels favoured Mr Sarkozy's calls for domestic economic reform and his proposal for an EU "mini-treaty" instead of a full constitution to streamline decision making in the 27-nation body.
"I know Nicolas Sarkozy well, and I know his determination to ensure France takes its full place on the European scene," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
"I have every confidence that Nicolas Sarkozy, whose convictions I know and whose strong beliefs are known to all, will play a driving role in resolving the institutional question and in consolidating a political Europe," he said.
But he called on Mr Sarkozy not to block talks on Turkey's entry into the union, which Mr Sarkozy has vowed to oppose.
In Turkey, newspapers reacted with dismay to Mr Sarkozy's victory.
"Alas! It is Sarko," Aksam daily said on its front page.
Milliyet newspaper outlined the fears of many Turks with the headline: "Sarkozy the new obstacle on the path towards EU", saying that the victory would "increase the potential of already chilly Turkish-French ties to worsen".
Mr Sarkozy has said Turkey's entry to the EU would mean the "death of political Europe".
Instead he called for a new "Mediterranean Union" stretching from Turkey to Morocco.
Tunisia welcomed Mr Sarkozy's victory, offering an enthusiastic endorsement for his planned Mediterranean Union.
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali said the win would help strengthen dialogue between both sides of the Mediterranean in the hope of building a strategic and united partnership.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he was confident strong links between Iraq and France would remain.
"Our friendship makes me comfortable that you will lead France toward boosting political, economic and cultural relations with Iraq," Mr Talabani said in a statement.
"And I'm convinced that your help for the Iraqi people in their struggle against terrorism will be increased."
During his victory speech Mr Sarkozy called warring parties in the Middle East to "overcome hate".
Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres welcomed this appeal, while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope that French-Israeli relations would improve.
"I am sure that co-operation between us will be fruitful, and together we can push forward diplomacy and peace in our region," Mr Olmert said.
Mr Sarkozy says he favours the creation of a Palestinian state but has reproached the Palestinian Authority for not preventing violence against Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "congratulated Mr Sarkozy on his election to the presidency and expressed to him his hope that France will continue its support for the Palestinian people and their rights," a spokesman told AFP.
He also said he hoped the president-elect would lift "the siege" - a Palestinian reference to the EU freeze on funds for the Palestinian Authority after the Hamas victory in elections last year.
"We hope that this change will lead to co-operation with the national unity government and that Sarkozy will contribute to lifting the siege against the Palestinian people and support their legitimate rights."
Mr Sarkozy's victory was welcomed in the former French colony by the Islamic Hezbollah party and the son of the assassinated former leader Rafik Hariri.
A Hezbollah statement expressed hope that France's new president's decisions "are more appropriate with French national interests, and consequently less biased toward one party against the other.
"We hope that the French president will have the vision for a more influential role through being more balanced," a statement said.
Parliamentary leader Saad Hariri said he hoped bonds between the two countries would remain strong.
"This is the hope of all the Lebanese who remember France and the French for their permanent stand toward their causes, and this I pledge to continue to work to achieve it in my political and parliamentary position in Lebanon," he said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad sent congratulations to Mr Sarkozy on news of his win - despite the former French colony being at odds with France over its policy towards neighbouring Lebanon.
"We send the congratulations and best wishes of happiness and good health and hope the relations between Syria and France to witness development in service of the two countries and peoples' interests," a cable from the president read.
Afghan leader Hamid Karzai welcomed Mr Sarkozy's victory.
"I hope the historic and friendly relations between Afghanistan and France will further strengthen under Sarkozy's leadership... the Afghan people appreciate the assistance of the people and government of France," he said in a statement.
The Russian press declared Mr Sarkozy's victory would herald great change in France.
"No-one today can say for sure what sort of president Sarkozy will be... But what should be understood, first and foremost, is that this immigrant's son, who has fought his whole life for the right to be president of all the people of France, and has secured this right, is capable of a great deal," the newspaper Vremya Novostey said.
"The French voted against the Socialists but for socialism. For socialism with a human face - with the face of a human being who is prepared to work and earn money, fulfilling his duty to his country rather than to suffering idlers," the Vedemosti newspaper said.
"It's clear that in the Sarkozy era France's foreign policy will change forever," declared Kommersant.
The Democratic Republic of Congo's press also saw Mr Sarkozy's victory ushering in a new age for France, though there were notes of caution.
"A new France, another France... there is no doubt that Nicolas Sarkozy's accession will open a new era not only for France but also for its relations with the rest of the world," the newspaper Le Potential said.
The paper L'Avenir said: "The French presidential elections would have been a good lesson in democracy for Africans."
But there was a muted response from L'Observateur: "He has not forgotten Africa... Sarkozy seemed to say: Africans, the ball is in your court. Think of the best way we can make our relations beneficial... unless there is a miracle, Africans have to expect the status quo in the relations with Paris."
Sarkozy Drifts Into Controversy BBC News
(Photo) Mr Sarkozy is holidaying aboard the yacht of a billionaire friend
French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has sailed into a political storm by holidaying on a luxury yacht straight after his election triumph on Sunday.
The opposition Socialist Party and media across the political spectrum say the cruise is too ostentatious.
A defiant Mr Sarkozy said he would not apologise for the break and it should not be cause for controversy.
The attacks came as rioters torched cars in a third night of protests against Mr Sarkozy's victory.
Mr Sarkozy is on a three-day cruise in Malta with his wife Cecilia and son Louis, 10, to celebrate his victory and relax before officially taking over from Jacques Chirac on 16 May.
Former Socialist Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou called the holiday "ostentatious" and "scandalous".
I do not intend to hide, I do not intend to lie, I do not intend to apologise
"All this money when he pretends to be the... president of all French [people]," she said on French TV station iTele.
The British-registered 60m (200-foot) yacht Paloma belongs to a friend of Mr Sarkozy, French billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore, and costs up to 200,000 euros ($270,000) to rent for a week.
Mr Sarkozy was originally said to be taking his retreat on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, and the La Republique du Centre newspaper said the shift from a "monastic retreat... alters the image of Nicolas Sarkozy as an appealing, humble leader that was projected on Sunday night".
Even the conservative Le Figaro expressed dismay, saying the cruise caused "concern among a number of friends of Nicolas Sarkozy".
In response to the gathering storm, Mr Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio he was relaxing now so that he could take office "in the calmest possible frame of mind".
"I am going to be taking two and a half days. I don't think anyone can object to this," he said.
Mr Sarkozy insisted that the cruise would not cost the French people a cent.
"I do not intend to hide, I do not intend to lie, I do not intend to apologise," he said.
Former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, from Mr Sarkozy's UMP party, told French radio that after five difficult years in government, Mr Sarkozy "owed three days of exceptional happiness to his family before five years of labour to the exclusive service of the French people".
Meanwhile, rioters clashed with police and burned cars for a third night in protest against Mr Sarkozy's victory in the second round of the presidential election.
Some 200 cars were set alight and 80 people arrested on Wednesday.
Protesters have rallied for three days against Mr Sarkozy's victory
But this figure was down on the 365 vehicles torched on Monday and 730 burnt on Sunday, said French Interior Minister Francois Baroin.
In Paris, about 150 protesters shouting "Sarko, fascist!" clashed with police in the Bastille district. In the suburbs, youths set fire to a nursery school and torched cars in a garage.
In Lyon, some 200 demonstrators clashed with police, while UMP party offices were set ablaze in the nearby town of Villeurbanne.
Several cars were also burnt in the suburbs of Toulouse on Tuesday, and a Renault car showroom was set alight during clashes with police, fire services said.
Mr Sarkozy is due to return to France on Wednesday night.
One of his first key tests as president will be nationwide parliamentary elections in June.
His UMP party must win a majority in the National Assembly to ensure Mr Sarkozy can pass his planned reforms.
French election: Your reaction
What does the election of Nicolas Sarkozy mean for the future of France?
France's new President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has called for unity after a bitterly-contested campaign.
The conservative won a clear victory over his socialist rival Segolene Royal, gaining 53% of the vote with a massive 85% turnout.
Mr Sarkozy said the French people had chosen change and he would use the mandate he had received to achieve it.
He is currently resting in Malta and working on his new government that will be formed in the days after his inauguration.
What is your reaction to the result? What sort of president will he be? How do you think France could change under his leadership? BBC News
Another white immigrant who thinks coloured immigrants are bad for Europe. How more hypocrite can you be!
Saad Abdul-Rassak, UK
And yet who were the people burning cars, attacking their neighbours, trying to kill police officers and destroying the property of ordinary, hard-working French people? They weren't white immigrants, that's for sure. Funny how one community can take responsibility for its own actions and thrives, while the other blames others for all its problems and fails.
I was very anti-Sarkozy for a long time, until I heard that he opposed Turkish entry into the EU, and Royal was pro-turkey.
Since I heard this, I am very very glad that he was elected and will oppose Turkish entry into the EU. Turkey is not in europe, it is against everything the EU stands for, it even illegally occupies another EU member.
I would like to know what French people think about Turkish entry into the EU.
The French just elected its own version of George Bush, those who equate Democracy with Capitalism and who see cultural and other differences as an opportunity to exploit people and nations, not truly support them. A sad day for the home of my grandfather, and for the world.
JD Benson, Berkeley, CA
Hasn't Sarkozy been a member of the same conservative government that has been in power for 12 years? In rejecting Royale, what are 57% of French people actually voting for? If it's a more right wing version of the same government, God help them. The British 'success' was achieved only with much social disintegration and the destruction of many traditional communities and other aspects of British society. We are still paying the price almost 30 years later.
william goodall, milton keynes
As a French citizen living abroad, I find it hard to explain to people asking me - as well as to myself - why my country has chosen the path to a security state, the politics of fear, and decided to value "morale, authority and national identity" over "liberté, égalité and fraternité". There is no escaping the fact that Sarkozy's "society project" involves more polarization between communities, more categorization. But 47 % of us voted differently: there is hope....
Royal:- unemployed get 90% wage for the first year
Sarkozy:- might take beneifts away from unemployed
Royal:- will maintain 35 hour week
Sarkozy:- will allow work over 15 hours and not tax it
For a country with economic problems whos going to improve the situation? Hmmmm.
[arian5], Bristol, United Kingdom
As soon as I read the news I felt sorry for the ''non privileged' French people!
Living in another European country with conservative government,we've already had the ''chance'' to see from first hand the kind of policies they have in mind for the people. Unemployement, racism and big class differences. France will no doubt become an even bigger battlefield between classes under his leadership,I'm afraid.Too bad people still can't see through slogans, big words and empty promises,though!
it´s a sad day for france, it´s sad to read some of the comments on here. sad times where people give more importance to economy then environment and humanity.
another right wing leader, another split nation.
R.I.P liberté, ègalité, fraternité
adieu democratic rights and social justice !
welcome security state, welcome a politic based on fear and paranoia and a well working propaganda machine.
precarity found a new hero !
welcome francerica !!
Plus ça change.... there is a dark wind blowing over France. Will that dark wind blow over the UK too? The Media had already decided on who was to win the presidency. Are the Media in the UK following the same pattern? Was it really democracy that put Sarkozy in power or a combination of media coverage, powerful businesses etc. In spite of his latest speech asking for 'reconciliation', history will show us whether he is sincere. Those who did not vote for him already know.
Martine Kozlowski, London, United Kingdom
France does not need the US model of secret power lead by a select few to be rich whilst the rest get poor, the lowest class won't benefit, the middle class won't benefit, only the rich will get richer.What did Nicolas Sarkozy do during his term as Interior Minister?Why did crime increase ?
Don't forget other arrived in power by elections.
And the US need to stop believeing that France is somewhere where people don't work ... we work hard and are very productive !
Louis, London (Nice)
The oldest Fascist trick in the world is blaming the other for a nation’s fears and anxiety. Sarkozy has exploited the French people’s fear of of immigration as a political tool. His neo-liberal economic restructuring programs is a response to globalization. A globalized world in which millions live with a few Euros a day. Let see if the French enjoy neo liberalism with it’s ensuing poverty. Will the next French president then be along the lines of neo-Vichyism?
Taher Shafie, United States
Sarkozy's so-called liberal economic policies will be a disaster if implemented.
A Gadarene rush for economic 'growth' in the interests of a society geared to consumption as its God.
The cure for France's unemployment will not be achieved- nothing will be done to re-import jobs from China, and the job sharing implied in the 35 hour week will be jettisoned, in the interest of short term profits .Nor will there be local control of industrial pollution to minimize climate deterioration. A mess.
Louis Billerey, london
Sarkozy is not the man we need.
He owns all the media,
he divides French people,
he has fascist ideas,
he says "work" when he means "capital",
This election makes me ashamed.
We need reforms, but Sarkozy hasn't good solutions and is going to rot our society and our country.
Please don't consider all french people wanted Sarkozy as President...
I'm french, I'm sad tonight, for this result and thinking about the future that is coming in France now...
Some surveys are showing than people older than 65yo voted mainly for sarko whereas people in 18-25yo and even more voted mainly for segolene.
Don't forget it. It's an unpleasant time, but still there are french people open minded there... in France. And that don't want "their" Bush...
I am unutterably sad and ashamed at my country's vote - I am so afraid of what Sarkozy could be capable of doing as President. There is a sort of machiavellian, ill-disguised racism, hatred and belligerance to all his discourse that I find deeply sinister and disturbing. I do hope that I am wrong and that things will not get as bad as I fear. Vive la France divisee...
I am absolutely gutted for France. Srakozy has time an dtime again shown to be incompetent when in power, courting incessantly (and successfully) the right wing votes and will surely lead France to a dark period of revisionism, social struggle and increasingly acceptable hatred towards the non French, whatever being French means. I will never go back to live in France as long as Sarkozy is president.
Sorry to see Sarkozy win. I think this will result in a stratification of French society into the super-wealthy and everybody else. The free market is not the answer to everything, as some in America like to believe it is.
G Edwards, Portland
As a french expat in the uk, I'm quite disappointed by the comments here cheering sarkozy... this guy is a nut job, he's really just a demagogic power-grabber. Frankly, I'm really pessimist of what will happen in the next few years under his "reign"...
Sure, I can't say I was really convainced by segolene either, and I'm sure her government would have been criticable too. But I'm dead convainced that what we got now is the worse of two evil. Time will tell.
What a damn shame. I hope the spirit that Ms. Royal was able to harness doesn't slowly die, but breathes new life into France.
As far Mr. Sarkozy, I hope he doesn't undermine the system and doesn't suck up to the Bush administration. The last thing the world needs is another US enabler.
The French totally rock. 85% voter participation puts us here in the US to complete shame.
Jack, Hartford, CT
Im devastated, lets just hope France dosnt descend into civil uprest or even civil war.
I believe that Mr. Sarkozy won because of his gender. Regrettably, a majority of French people are still too traditional to elect a woman as their president.
Sagitelle, Gatineau (Canada)
Ten years ago in Australia a centre right government (Howard) was voted in. An extreme right (Hanson) party took 10% of the vote and Howard went further right to reclaim this constituency. We got an economic paradigm that amplified scarcity amongst the poor in our nation, unleashed division and racism. Destroyed compassion and delivered our nation to GW Bush and his fantasy crusade.
I pray this will not happen to France but it all feels very familiar.
Michael Bovo, Byron Bay Australia
Today, newspaper Le Monde reported that a 8-yrs old and an 11-yrs old had been asked to give a DNA sample to the police after they'd stolen tamagotchis. It will be put in a national genetic database. AN EIGHT YEARS OLD CHILD.
Welcome to Sarkozy's vision of France. Order! Morals! Authority! National Identity!
This is not the France I love.
I am deeply ashamed.
I find these results very distressing, it seems the worldwide Neo-conservative regression is a worldwide phenomenon. Royal was hardly perfect but a chance to improve the world was lost May 6, 2007.
James, Montpelier - VT
King George now has a French poodle to replace Tony. Tragic for France, Europe and the World.
Please, people of the world, forgive us ...
Johan, Bordeaux (France)
How To Survive 100 Days Without Riots
by Bronwen Maddox
How long can Nicolas Sarkozy go before provoking a riot? No time at all, if you count the nights of post-election violence.
Those who dismiss his prescriptions for France as “brutal” and uncivilized -- even to the point of being American -- seem to see no contradiction in torching cars and hurling rocks through windows in protest at his victory.
Sarkozy himself seemed uninhibited by concerns about his image, retreating to a private yacht “with whirlpool bath,” despite the criticism of his luxurious lifestyle by his opponents. The French media might have found the failing state of his marriage more or less out of bounds during the campaign, but reported the details of his post-victory treat with gusto.
Sarkozy has already made many of the changes he intends to in his first 100 days. Gordon Brown has said the same, and in both cases, the deadline is phony: a commitment only to a hyperactive flurry of “initiatives” (in Brown’s case also requiring him to explain why they were inaccessible during the past 10 years). The reforms, which Sarkozy rightly says are necessary, will take far longer than that.
Nor does he have 100 days, he has about three weeks between taking over as president from Jacques Chirac next week, and the parliamentary elections on June 10 and 17. It would buck the trend of past elections if those did not repeat the presidential vote and return a centre-right majority, but it is possible. The more that Sarkozy’s first actions rattle voters, the more likely it becomes.
The protesters this week have been mostly white and young, resembling those who helped to scupper his labor reforms last year. They may give him more coherent opposition than the rioters in 2005, who included many from Arab immigrant families.
If he divides his list into the easy and the controversial, he can get some way down it without anticipating news pictures of riot shields and burning cars. The most popular, inevitably, will be his tax-cutting plans. Even those who are suspicious of his presumed attack on France’s “social safety net” may not object to his plans to pare away wealth and inheritance taxes, and some corporate taxes.
His plans for tougher sentences for repeat offenders and tighter criteria for immigrants wanting to bring their families to France may also not face much organized opposition, although those who object will do so passionately.
But when he starts changing the labor laws, he may face uproar. One of his most advertised plans is to scrap the taxes on overtime pay, to encourage people to work more than 35 hours a week. His solid victory nonetheless left doubt about whether France wants to ditch this totem. On the face of it the change should not be controversial, simply making it easier for those who want to work longer. But his plan will be a test of whether every policy will be taken as a symbol of his supposed assault on French values, or considered on its own.
Other plans -- also on the 100-day list -- include narrowing the eligibility for unemployment benefits and shrinking the civil service by replacing only half of those who retire.
Even if Sarkozy did all this he would hardly be Margaret Thatcher, as some portrayed him during the campaign. His entire plans together amount to a small shift in policy -- and he may not get far down the list. However showy his ambitions for the first 100 days, he may be inhibited by the need to avoid riots, at least in the first three weeks. © The Times
France closes down armaments office in Turkey
Amid growing fears that Nicolas Sarkozy, elected as France's next president in Sunday's election, could block Turkey's EU negotiations, which have already suffered a setback due to Cyprus, France has decided to close down its armaments office in Ankara by the end of July due to the decline in mutual arms trade.
Col. Jean Claude Geay, who was appointed to Ankara as France's armaments attaché almost three years ago, will be completing his term of duty this summer. He told Today's Zaman that when he leaves in late July, the Armaments Attaché's Office will also be closed down as a result of the reduced trade between the two countries. Col. Geay, however, stated that the office may be reopened depending on future ties in the arms trade.
The French decision to close down its office of the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), the French defense procurement agency, in Ankara did not affect the French military attaché mission in the city. DGA is a civilian arms procurement agency that oversees the country’s arms trade with its staff having special training on arms procurement.
The French decision comes after Turkey’s announcement of the suspension of military ties with France -- a reaction to the French Parliament’s approval of a bill in October of last year that made it a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed “genocide” against Armenians during World War I. Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug said on Nov. 15 of last year that Turkish military ties with France had been suspended after French lawmakers’ approval of this so-called genocide bill.
Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said the following day that France was not officially invited to the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) 2007, to be held between 22 and 25 May in Ankara.
Though the Turkish announcement of the suspension of military ties between the two countries did not include arms trade, French participation in major arms procurement programs in Turkey has seen a decline, though French companies have continued bidding in the arms projects -- with little hope that they will win.
According to a September 2006 armaments report delivered to French Parliament, Turkish military imports from France stayed at around 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) between 1995 and 2005, partly due to the Armenian genocide dispute.
Though France was not officially invited to IDEF French companies such as Thales or Nexter (formerly known as Giat Industries) will open stands at the fair.
Turkey’s Meltem project, which envisions the joint production with French Thales of 19 maritime patrol and surveillance systems for Turkey’s Navy and Coast Guard Command, has been continuing while French companies bid in Turkish projects within the European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS).
The DGA operates in 15 countries where there is the potential for arms trade. Despite its closure in Ankara several French companies continue operations in the capital.
Meanwhile the court case between the two countries at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Geneva continues. This concerns the decision of Turkey and MBDA in 2004 to solve a dispute over a missile project at the court. MBDA argued that Turkey has allegedly violated contract terms when it cancelled Eryx short-range anti-tank missiles, while Ankara blames MBDA for failing to meet its obligations.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense signed the Eryx contract with French firm Aérospatiale -- now part of MBDA -- worth about 2.7 billion French francs ($486.5 million) in 1988 to replace the Turkish Land Force Command’s outdated 3.5-inch rocket launcher and RPG-7s seized from Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists. The deal aimed to allow Turkey to build a total of 19,200 missiles and 1,600 launchers under license over 10 years.
French Goverment Accuses Far-Left Activists Over Anti-Sarkozy Troubles
France's interior minister accused far-left activists on Wednesday of fanning political violence following a third night of sporadic protests against the presidential election of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Sarkozy was due to return to France later in the day after a controversial 48-hour break with his family aboard the yacht of a billionaire friend, which has been condemned by the left-wing opposition as an ill-judged trip. His election victory on Sunday has sparked violent demonstrations in numerous French cities and police reported 200 cars were torched overnight and some 80 people arrested. "For the last three days, since the night of the election, we have had an unacceptable situation," Interior Minister Francois Baroin told France Info radio. "It is clearly politically motivated and linked to the extreme left." Shouting "Fascist Sarko!"The people will have your skin , some 200-300 people blocked Paris's Bastille Square late Tuesday for the third night running. There was also violence in and around the southeastern city of Lyon, where an office belonging to Sarkozy's UMP party was set ablaze by youths throwing Molotov cocktails.
Breaking The EU And Turkish Political Impasse
Nicolas Sarkozy, elected as France's next president last Sunday, was described during CNN International's live coverage of the election results as a US neoconservative with a French passport.
This was to underline his closeness to the US neoconservatives. CNN commentators, however, highlighted the main issue that Sarkozy drifted apart from US President Bush was the former's strong opposition to Turkey's EU membership, arguing that most of Turkey's territory is in Asia.
Similarly, EU leaders voiced concern that his strong opposition to Turkey joining the union could divide the 27-member bloc.
Sarkozy shares German Chancellor Angelina Merkel's view that Turkey should be offered a privileged partnership instead of full EU membership. But she has never blocked accession negotiations.
So the fear now is whether Sarkozy could halt the opening of further negotiating chapters with Turkey.
But a senior European diplomat came to Turkey's rescue.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn on May 8 played down concerns that Sarkozy would stop Turkey's membership bid, adding that new talks with Ankara could begin within weeks.
Nevertheless, whoever says what on the future process of Turkey's EU membership talk, there is one thing clear: The difficult times that are already ahead for Ankara's efforts to get closer to the EU have become more difficult with Sarkozy's election as French president.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in fact, acceded that the job that Turkey has been doing (reforms to bring Turkish laws into EU standards) has not been an easy one, urging in his message released on the occasion of Europe Day on Wednesday for the EU to support Turkey's bid to join the union.
Added to the Sarkozy factor that has already made Turkey's task difficult has been the anti-EU winds also blowing in Turkey as the majority of the Turks have appeared to have lost enthusiasm for EU membership.
The ruling AK Party government's failure in pushing ahead for democratic reforms as it did in 2003 and 2004 has also been playing an important role in people's loss of appetite in getting closer to the European club, in addition to the already existing anti-Turkey trend not only among some European leaders but also among Europeans.
The main question that should be posed now is how Turkey -- which itself has been going through serious political turmoil fuelled by the strongly worded statement of the Turkish military on April 27 and described as a memorandum by many, issued as a warning against the government -- can break the current internal and external impasse.
Can Turkey turn internal and external challenges into opportunities?
An answer to that question is extremely hard to find at the moment since we need the dust to settle, if it can, both in Europe and in Turkey as Turkish politicians have called for early elections to be held on July 22.
We do not know yet whether the AK Party will come back to the Parliament as a majority, in the form of a coalition or whether any other party or parties other than the ruling AK party will receive a mandate from the people to form the next government.
Will the would-be winner of the early elections continue the EU process as vigorously as the AK Party did in 2003-2004 or will Turkey prefer to be an inward-looking country that will have wide repercussions on the already fragile life standards of the majority of the people?
These are all questions difficult to answer at this stage as the current political instability leaves an open question mark on the future course of Turkey.
Damage has already been done on Turkey's democracy with the military's fifth coups or memorandums issued in the 84-year-old Republic's history. We will see whether this damage will be repaired by a strong political leadership.
So there is a huge task awaiting the country's politicians to restore democracy in the country that could also prevent playing into the hands of the European politicians such as Sarkozy as well as the Turkish establishment.
We should also bear in mind that despite the ideological differences between secularism and Islamism that are unfortunately dividing the country sharply, what matters at the end of the day for people is whether they have jobs to feed themselves and their families.
The current political impasse, if not broken, might signal massive protests in the streets by the silent masses whose patience has already worn thin. And such protests will not be in the least bit similar to the recent rallies that furthered the ideological divisions in the country: Those masses failed to use mass gathering opportunities to highlight the economic grievances of the people.
If Sarkozy’s Reforms Bear Fruit Turkey Will Gain
If we were to look more closely at the reality of the reasons why French are against Turkey joining the EU, the picture we would see is that the election of Sarkozy actually represents hope for solving this problem.
The French “bad temper” displayed not only toward Turkey, but toward the whole world as well is perhaps explained by a March 2 report published by Morgan Stanley, renowned finance institution. In this report, titled “The New Sick Man of Europe,” it is shown that in terms of all critical indicators, such as economical growth, unemployment, efficiency and research and development, France is going backwards. France’s reconciliation with the world and Turkey depends on its getting rid of this sick man situation. That is why Sarkozy’s success in implementing the reforms that he has promised in his campaign would be the greatest kindness he could ever do for Turkey.
Abdülhamit Bilici, Zaman
Could Sarkozy change?
Is there a chance that newly elected President of the Republic of France Nicolas Sarkozy will change his anti-Turkey stance, or more directly, is there a possibility that he will give up on preventing Turkey’s EU membership after he sits in the presidential chair?
Many analysts we have spoken to think that we shouldn’t wait for Sarkozy to change in an instant. The primary reason for this is his strongly held belief that there is no, or should not be, space for the conservative leader, Turkey, in Europe. There is however also a possibility of some obstacles in the way of Sarkozy’s wish to close the EU door completely for Turkey -- assigning it instead some other status or role. If French diplomacy considers these obstacles in time and sends the necessary warnings to the Élysée [Palace], it is possible that Sarkozy will give up his strong desire to exclude Turkey.
Sami Kohen, Milliyet
We Should Look In The Right Direction
One magic word was in every politician’s mouth, especially those of the two presidential candidates, during the last elections in France: reform.
Nicolas Sarkozy has prepared a wide reform package; the biggest difference between him and Royal, the socialist candidate, was his reform-implementation method. “The greatest mistake of the reformists is trying to implement reforms by turn. First you manage the retirement issue, then education, then welfare and migrants issues. While doing this, because of the struggle and spent efforts during the first reform, you are usually worn out before the second reform.” Contrary to some general impressions this vision didn’t seem the product of a “fanatic” to me. It may seem wrong to us and we may be disturbed by this kind of politics, but Sarkozy gives an impression of someone who has analyzed his society well, who knows its problems and what needs to be done to solve them, and who has determined his method in a very intelligent way. It is impossible to reach the truth if we look in the wrong direction.
Fehmi Koru, Yeni Safak
- Nicolas Sarkozy, New President Of France: Past And Future By Raanan Eliaz
- Sarkozy: “my Roots Are In Salonika” EJP Paris-Athens (EJP)
- Sarkozy's Win Likely To Strain Relations With Turkey ANKARA - TDN
- EU Unmoved By Sarkozy Win, Eyes Fresh Talks With Turkey
- Will Sarkozy Shift To Realism? Yavuz Baydar
- Vive La France! But What About Turkey? Amanda Akcakoca
- Turkey Uneasy Over Sarkozy Win, But Hopes For Pragmatism
- Oh No! It's Sarkozy Ilnur Cevik TNA
- Sarkozy TDN
- Worried Turkey warns Sarkozy to quit election rhetoric FULYA ÖZERKAN - TAYLAN BILGIÇ TDN
- A Turning Point In Relations With France & Eu: President Sarkozy Cengiz AKTAR
- Sarkozy Plans Quick Reform Package AP
- Sarkozy’s Real Fear: A Developing Turkey Semih Idiz, Milliyet
- Ankara Hopes Presidential Responsibility Will Mellow Sarkozy Emine Kart Zaman
- Sarkozy’s European Vision, Some Headaches Ahead Paul Taylor Zaman
- A Plea To The Next French President
. . .
Nicolas Sarkozy, New President Of France: Past And Future
By Raanan Eliaz 06/May/2007
In an interview Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.” (From the book “La République, les religions, l’espérance”, interviews with Thibaud Collin and Philippe Verdin.)
Sarkozy’s sympathy and understanding is most probably a product of his upbringing; it is well known that Sarkozy’s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece. Additionally, many may be surprised to learn that his yet-to-be-revealed family history involves a true and fascinating story of leadership, heroism and survival. It remains to be seen whether his personal history will affect his foreign policy and France’s role in the Middle East conflict.
In the 15th century, the Mallah family (in Hebrew: messenger or angel) escaped the Spanish Inquisition to Provence, France and moved about one hundred years later to Salonika. In Greece, several family members became prominent Zionist leaders, active in the local and national political, economic, social and cultural life. To this day many Mallahs are still active Zionists around the world.
Sarkozy’s grandfather, Aron Mallah, nicknamed Benkio, was born in 1890. Beniko’s uncle Moshe was a well-known Rabbi and a devoted Zionist who, in 1898 published and edited “El Avenir”, the leading paper of the Zionist national movement in Greece at the time. His cousin, Asher, was a Senator in the Greek Senate and in 1912 he helped guarantee the establishment of the Technion – the elite technological university in Haifa, Israel. In 1919 he was elected as the first President of the Zionist Federation of Greece and he headed the Zionist Council for several years. In the 1930’s he helped Jews flee to Israel, to which he himself immigrated in 1934. Another of Beniko’s cousins, Peppo Mallah, was a philanthropist for Jewish causes who served in the Greek Parliament, and in 1920 he was offered, but declined, the position of Greece’s Minister of Finance. After the establishment of the State of Israel he became the country’s first diplomatic envoy to Greece.
In 1917 a great fire destroyed parts of Salonika and damaged the family estate. Many Jewish-owned properties, including the Mallah’s, were expropriated by the Greek government. Jewish population emigrated from Greece and much of the Mallah family left Salonika to France, America and Israel. Sarkozy’s grandfather, Beniko, immigrated to France with his mother. When in France Beniko converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Benedict in order to marry a
Adèle and Benedict had two daughters, Susanne and Andrée. Although Benedict integrated fully into French society, he remained close to his Jewish family, origin and culture. Knowing he was still considered Jewish by blood, during World War II he and his family hid in Marcillac la Croisille in the Corrèze region, western France.
During the Holocaust, many of the Mallahs who stayed in Salonika or moved to France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. In total, fifty-seven family members were murdered by the Nazis. Testimonies reveal that several revolted against the Nazis and one, Buena Mallah, was the subject of Nazis medical experiments in the Birkenau concentration camp.
In 1950 Benedict’s daughter, Andrée Mallah, married Pal Nagy Bosca y Sarkozy, a descendent of a Hungarian aristocratic family. The couple had three sons – Guillaume, Nicolas and François. The marriage failed and they divorced in 1960, so Andrée raised her three boys close to their grandfather, Benedict. Nicolas was especially close to Benedict, who was like a father to him. In his biography Sarkozy tells he admired his grandfather, and through hours spent of listening to his stories of the Nazi occupation, the “Maquis” (French resistance), De Gaulle and the D-day, Benedict bequeathed to Nicolas his political convictions.
Sarkozy’s family lived in Paris until Benedict’s death in 1972, at which point they moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine to be closer to the boys’ father, Pal (who changed his name to Paul) Sarkozy. Various memoirs accounted Paul as a father who did not spend much time with the kids or help the family monetarily. Nicolas had to sell flowers and ice cream in order to pay for his studies. However, his fascination with politics led him to become the city’s youngest mayor and to rise to the top of French and world politics. The rest is history.
It may be a far leap to consider that Sarkozy’s Jewish ancestry may have any bearing on his policies vis-à-vis Israel. However, many expect Sarkozy’s presidency to bring a dramatic change not only in France’s domestic affairs, but also in the country’s foreign policy in the Middle-East. One cannot overestimate the magnitude of the election of the first French President born after World War II, whose politics seem to represent a new dynamic after decades of old-guard Chirac and Mitterrand. There is even a reason to believe that Sarkozy, often mocked as “the American friend” and blamed for ‘ultra-liberal’ worldviews, will lean towards a more Atlanticist policy. Nevertheless, there are several reasons that any expectations for a drastic change in the country’s Middle East policy, or foreign policy in general, should be downplayed.
First, one must bear in mind that France’s new president will spend the lion’s share of his time dealing with domestic issues such as the country’s stagnated economy, its social cohesiveness and the rising integration-related crime rate. When he finds time to deal with foreign affairs, Sarkozy will have to devote most of his energy to protecting France’s standing in an ever-involved European Union (http://www.ejpress.org/article/13181). In his dealings with the US, Sarkozy will most likely prefer to engage on less explosive agenda-items than the Middle-East.
Second, France’s foreign policy stems from the nation’s interests, rooted in reality and influenced by a range of historic, political, strategic and economic considerations. Since Sarkozy’s landing at the Elysée on May 16 will not change those, France’s foreign policy ship will not tilt so quickly under a new captain.
Third reason why expectations for a drastic change in France’s position in the Middle-East may be naïve is the significant weight the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs exerts over the country’s policies and agenda. There, non-elected bureaucrats tend to retain an image of Israel as a destabilizing element in the Middle-East rather then the first line of defense of democracy. Few civil servants in Quai d’Orsay would consider risking France’s interests or increasing chances for “a clash of civilizations” in order to help troubled Israel or Palestine to reach peace.
It is a fair to predict that France will stay consistent with its support in establishing a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, existing side by side with a peaceful Israel. How to get there, if at all, will not be set by Sarkozy’s flagship but rather he will follow the leadership of the US and the EU. Not much new policy is expected regarding Iran, on which Sarkozy has already voiced willingness to allow development of civilian nuclear capabilities, alongside tighter sanctions on any developments with military potency.
One significant policy modification that could actually come through under Sarkozy is on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts. The new French president is not as friendly to Lebanon as was his predecessor, furthermore, as the Minister of the Interior, Sarkozy even advocated closer ties between France and Syria. Especially if the later plays the cards of talking-peace correctly, Sarkozy may increase pressure on Israel to evacuate the Golan Heights in return for a peace deal with Assad.
Despite the above, although Sarkozy’s family roots will not bring France closer to Israel, the presidents’ personal Israeli friends may. As a Minister of Interior, Sarkozy shared much common policy ground with former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The two started to develop a close friendship not long ago and it is easy to observe similarities not only in their ideology and politics, but also in their public image. If Netanyahu returns to Israel’s chief position it will be interesting to see whether their personal dynamic will lead to a fresh start for Israel and France, and a more constructive European role in the region.
Sarkozy: “my Roots Are In Salonika”
PARIS-ATHENS (EJP)---The tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy, who came out first from the first round of French presidential election on Sunday ahead of his Socialist rival Ségolène Royal, casts himself as a moderniser and the man who wants to lead France into a "clean break" with a discredited past.
French voters chose to put Sarkozy and Royal in the runoff for the second round of the election on May 6.
They won respectively 31.1% and 25.8 % of the vote.
The 52-year-old son of a Hungarian immigrant and a French mother of Greek Jewish origin, Sarkozy has served as Interior Minister twice, as Finance Minister and, since 2004, president of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
Born in January 1955, Sarkozy had a privileged upbringing in the affluent Paris suburb of Neuilly where he served as mayor from 1983 to 2002. He studied law and -- unlike most of France’s ruling class -- avoided the elite National Administration School (ENA).
Twice married, Sarkozy has three children -- the third by his current wife Cecilia with whom his stormy relationship has received widespread coverage in the gossip magazines.
The Mallah family in Salonika
Sarkozy’s mother is from the Mallah family, which originally came from Spain like all Jews of Salonika, northern Greece, and left with the expulsion of the Jews by King Ferdinand. They settled initially in France.
About 100 years later the family immigrated to Salonika.
Sarkozy’s great grandfather, who died in 1913, was a well known jeweler in Salonika.
His business was destroyed when a fire in 1917 destroyed almost the entire city of Salonika.
The grave of Mordohai Mallah exists till today at Stavroupoli where it was transferred from the old cemetery just before the Germans walked in the cited a during WWII and destroyed the Jewish cemetery.
Nicolas’s grand father, Benedict, was the first child of seven children. His real name was Aaron but the family called him Benico. At the age of 14 Benico and his mother left for France where he studied medicine and served in the French army as a doctor during WWI, where he met his future wife Adel Bouvieux a pretty nurse.
In order to marry her he was baptized Catholic and took the name Benedict.
The couple had two daughters Suzanne and Andrée, the mother of Nicolas, who married in the 50’s an Hungarian immigrant Paul Sarkozy, the father of Nicolas.
In July 2006, while on a visit to Greece, Nicolas Sarkozy was honored at the French embassy in Athens by the Jewish Community of Salonika.
A plaque was unveiled which said: “In memory of Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Greece from the Thessaloniki Jewish Community, the town of your ancestors, mother and city of Israel and Jerusalem of the Balkans.”
Along with the plaque the community gave the French minister an album of his genealogical tree going back to his great-great-grandfather along with pictures of his ancestors. Sarkozy recognized some of the people in the pictures from his family albums.
At the event the wife of the president of the Jewish community of Salonika David Saltiel, Lucy, who was born from the same Mallah family, was also present. A visibly moved Sarkozy thanked the community and said: “my roots are here”.
Most of the members of the Mallah family perished in the Holocaust. Today the remaining members are living mainly in Switzerland, France and England.
Sarkozy's Win Likely To Strain Relations With Turkey
May 8, 2007
ANKARA - TDN
The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French president increases the prospects for the adoption of a controversial bill penalizing any denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
France's National Assembly last October approved a Socialist-drafted proposal which stated that those denying the alleged genocide should be punished with a jail sentence and pay a fine of 45,000 euros.
The bill has yet to go before the Senate and then returns to the lower house before becoming law. During his election campaign Sarkozy reportedly said that if he were elected president, he would sign into law the contentious bill, which has already poisoned Turkish-French ties.
Sarkozy has given similar signals in recent times when he sent a letter to the French Armenian community describing the events of 1915 as genocide.
“France has recognized the Armenian Genocide and all must respect our law. France condemns any manifestation of hatred, violence and discrimination. France should resist Turkey's state policy of denial and senseless propaganda. France should condemn Armenian Genocide denial and prevent any propaganda of denial policy,” said the letter, which was published in the Turkish Daily News over the weekend.
EU Unmoved By Sarkozy Win, Eyes Fresh Talks With Turkey
The European Union’s chief enlargement official has said membership negotiations with Turkey could start on new chapters by July, playing down concerns over possible negative consequences of the election of right-wing politician Nicolas Sarkozy as French president.
Turkey's EU Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan (L) talks with the European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt (C) and Belgium's Finance Minister Didier Reynders (R) at the start of a EU finance ministers dialogue meeting with candidate countries in Brussels yesterday.
“I confirmed ... the goal to open three chapters is still under the German [EU] presidency,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters after talks with State Minister Ali Babacan, also Turkey’s chief negotiator for EU talks, in Brussels. If realized, the opening of three chapters would mark major progress in Turkey’s accession process, in which talks have commenced on just two chapters and concluded on only one.
EU spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy said the three negotiating chapters most ready for negotiations with Turkey were economic and monetary affairs, statistics, and financial control issues.
Sarkozy’s victory in the French presidential election on Sunday raised concerns that he could try to stop accession talks with Turkey in line with his clear opposition in pre-election speeches to Turkey’s entry into the EU. Sarkozy has said he instead favors a “Mediterranean Union” that would include Turkey and other Muslim countries.
‘Take responsibility for consequences’
Rehn dismissed concerns over the impact of Sarkozy’s victory, saying the decision to start talks with Turkey was taken unanimously. “If one or several member states want to change that negotiating mandate, then it is up to them to take the initiative and also take responsibility for possible consequences,” he said. He congratulated Sarkozy on his election win and added that it was not his task to speculate on whether the election result “is good or bad.”
“I trust that France will stick to its commitments undertaken in the course of the EU accession process,” he added. In March the EU opened the chapter on enterprise and industry policy; however no chapters can be closed until Turkey opens its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Greek Cyprus.
“In my view the best way for the EU to work with Turkey in this sensitive and difficult time is by sticking to our commitment, by being firm and fair,” said Rehn. “Fair by keeping our word concerning the accession process, and firm by applying the criteria of accession rigorously.”
Nagy said that at their meeting Rehn had reiterated to Babacan the EU’s concern over political turmoil in Turkey about the election of the next president. “Commissioner Rehn underscored the importance of respect for democratic principles and the rule of law in the Turkish electoral process,” she stated.
Rehn told reporters that a decision on whether Turkey should be allowed to join the EU should only be made “closer to completion of the negotiation process, because only then can we see if Turkey is able to meet all the legal, democratic and economic criteria.”
Today’s Zaman with wires Istanbul
Will Sarkozy Shift To Realism?
Yavuz Baydar email@example.com
The good news is that the EU has been swift in issuing warnings on the subject of Turkey to the new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn’s repeated calls for caution in Turkish-EU relations have been noted and we may expect more on the issue in the immediate future.
As Rehn pointed out Turkey is more fragile than ever, given its present domestic conditions, and should not continue to be mistreated. This is a strict warning to both Sarkozy specifically and French politicians in general, as the upcoming parliamentary elections may again be conducted with heavy overtones of opposition to Turkey’s potential for full membership in the EU.
It seems rather apparent that the election of Sarkozy will mean troubled times for both France and the EU. The “anti-Turkish” sentiments have long been considered expressions of France’s deepening identity crisis, which derives from a variety of national reasons, and the situation may rapidly become turn into turmoil if the new president sets out to “transform” the nation as he pledged. Loud protests immediately after the elections are alarming signs of anxiety that undoubtedly will affect the political future of Sarkozy -- if the elections in June bolster his victory.
What about Turkish-French relations then? Should friends of Turkey in the EU prepare for a burial of EU negotiations? Should we wave farewell to membership?
There are certainly stronger reasons for being concerned now. A colleague, Cengiz Aktar, puts it into context. He writes: “Together with Sarkozy, seriousness is needed in France from now on. It is impossible to continue with implicit statements about Turkey, deals cut behind closed doors, facile books written about the ‘privileged partnership’ and discreditable remarks of the last three years.”
Looking back, we can now effortlessly point out the Sarkozian rhetoric as one of the main causes of the “EU fatigue” here in Turkey. Despite repeated warnings from Turkey and from other EU countries, Sarkozy -- as a Turkish diplomat pointed out -- “obstinately” acted like a “local politician” rather than a statesman; he dodged responsibility and moved toward populism as the easy way out.
Politics on a major scale, though, requires grandeur in vision and an ability to look deeper into the future. Segolene Royal -- despite her flaws in various issues -- realized, after having seen the developing controversy around the concept of secularism and democracy in Turkey, that the dynamic “spiel” that takes place here is European indeed. Turkey’s achievements and failures - whether one realizes it or not -- have an impact on Europe’s future.
Therefore it was very easy to understand when Turkish diplomats vented their frustration on the fruitless “Turkey does not belong to Europe” demagoguery, and the untimely “We shall vote off Turkish membership in the EU” discourse.
They were cheap shots which appealed only to extremist politicians and now must be the time to end all of this. As Ria Oomen-Ruijteno, new Turkey rapporteur of the European Parliament told the “AB Haber” (EU news) Web site yesterday, negotiations are open-ended by nature and it is a meaningless act by Sarkozy to try and “cut them in the middle.” She believes realistically that, given the slowed pace, negotiations may take 15 years and during the process it seems very difficult -- if not impossible -- to reach the consensus needed to kill Turkey’s EU prospects.
Will there be a shift to realism? Aktar points out that Sarkozy’s proximity to the US might help in navigating in that direction. One should also add that British conservatives and heavyweight figures of the EU such as Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and even German Chancellor Angela Merkel must contribute pragmatic guidance to the French president -- as well as the French press.
Both France and Turkey, in their own ways, are experiencing periods of political delicacy. One certainly hopes that perspectives of both countries will begin to overlap -- as many of them already do. In the best case, after all of the elections, we will need a France that “listens” and a Turkey that “explains.” Patience will be needed, and a lot of effort.
The French do not like to lose: they should win Turkey.
Vive La France! But What About Turkey?
Amanda Akcakoca firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicolas Sarkozy’s victory on Sunday ushers in a new era of French politics. The son of a Hungarian immigrant who abandoned him and his brothers when they were small, Sarkozy has succeeded through sheer guts and determination. Nowadays he is a man in a hurry. When he takes over from Jacques Chirac on May 16, he will have a long to-do list, including: kicking off his ambitious reform agenda including unemployment, economic growth, labor market regulations and immigration; moving along the infamous EU Constitutional Treaty -- Sarkozy favors a “mini-treaty” which would not have to go to public referendum. He wants to get it off his desk as soon as possible so that his first years in office are not bogged down by this ongoing problem; and, lastly, put France back on the world stage on which, according to Monsieur Sarkozy, it has played an unacceptably minor role over the last few years. However in many of France’s migrant communities his election was met with despair, resulting in a number of riots. Known for his heavy-handed policies on security and migration, Sarkozy suppressed riots in ethnically mixed suburbs in 2005, when he served as interior minister, during which time he infamously claimed he would work to “hose away the scum in France.” This made him a hugely unpopular figure with France’s North African communities, with many feeling they were being treated like second-class citizens. He has a huge mountain to climb here.
Coming to Turkey, it is well known that Sarkozy does not support Turkish membership of the EU, claiming that it would be the end of political Europe. Rather he favors, as does his counterpart in Germany, some type of “privileged partnership” and the development of a “Mediterranean Community,” whatever that might be -- he has not expanded on that gem as yet. I am not convinced that Sarkozy will launch himself into an all-out assault to bring Turkey’s talks to an end. More likely he will put the issue on a back-burner and deal with more pressing domestic concerns first. In any event he will have to abide by the decision taken by the European Council in Copenhagen and listen to France’s influential business community, who are strong supporters of Turkish membership. Sarkozy is a pragmatic man and will not want to rock the EU boat just as he has climbed aboard. However at the same time France may look for ways to further slow the accession process for Turkey, and when France takes over the EU Presidency in the second half of 2008 they will probably sit on their hands.
More important in Turkey’s relations with France is whether Sarkozy decides to ratify the bill, passed by the French Parliament in October, making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide. One of Sarkozy’s closest friends and advisers is Patrick Devedjian, a high profile member of Armenia’s diaspora community. To what extent he will influence Sarkozy remains to be seen. France is home to a large Armenian immigrant community, with up to 500,000 people of Armenian descent. The community is a powerful political lobby. Sarkozy will have to perform a balancing act as he needs to guard French bilateral relations with Turkey -- particularly business interests -- while at the same time keeping the Armenian lobby and others happy. Therefore even if Sarkozy does not ratify the bill he will certainly attempt to use the whole genocide issue as a bargaining tool whenever the opportunity arises.
In any event the first challenge Sarkozy will face will be the parliamentary elections in June. Securing a workable majority in the National Assembly would greatly ease the passage of Mr. Sarkozy’s planned reforms. Mr. Sarkozy is a passionate, dynamic human-dynamo who is both smart and charismatic. Being the president of a country that is known for being stubborn and unpredictable, Sarkozy will certainly need all these qualities.
Turkey Uneasy Over Sarkozy Win, But Hopes For Pragmatism
08 May 2007
Nicolas Sarkozy's election victory gives Turkey another reason to worry about its EU bid, but many here believe that once the new French president takes office, his pragmatism will outweigh his hostility to Ankara's membership. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced hopes Monday that the French leader would soften his position on Turkey's European aspirations.
"We hope we will not see in our bilateral relations from now on the same attitudes that Sarkozy displayed during his election campaign regarding our European Union (accession) process and Turkish-French ties," Erdogan said.
Sarkozy is staunchly opposed to Turkey joining the 27-member bloc, arguing that most of Turkey's territory is in Asia and that the idea of a united Europe would be diluted if its borders stretch that far.
He instead advocates a "privileged partnership" between the EU and Turkey rather than full membership for the sizeable mainly Muslim nation.
Political commentator Dogu Ergil suggested Sarkozy could follow the example of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was also opposed to Turkey's accession, but said she would abide by existing agreements between Ankara and Brussels once she took office in 2005.
Sarkozy had displayed a "certain opportunism in addressing the worries and fears of French voters," Ergil said. "But once elected, politicians become statesmen and can no longer be personal."
The mass-selling Milliyet newspaper echoed the same hope.
Sarkozy's election "will increase the potential of already chilly Turkish-French ties to worsen... But it is not impossible for Sarkozy, who is more of a pragmatic politician than an ideologue, to change his stance once he becomes president."
Questioned as to the possible impact of Sarkozy's election, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso indicated no change in the EU's negotiations with Ankara.
"We negotiate with Turkey on the basis of a mandate that was decided unanimously... We recommend to member states only to take a decision on whether or not Turkey should join based on the results of these negotiations," Barroso said.
But some Turkish analysts remain pessimistic.
"The conditions that were applied to the central European countries are no longer working with Turkey... Sarkozy's election marks the arrival of the moment of truth when this de facto situation will transform into a legal one," EU expert Cengiz Aktar said.
"Turkey's accession talks appear to be going on but the process risks to halt officially in 2009 with the campaign for the European Parliament elections," he said, adding that Sarkozy "will be probably the one to hammer the last nail into the coffin of Turkish-EU relations."
In December, the EU froze talks with Turkey in eight of the 35 policy areas that candidates are required to complete, over Ankara's rejection to grant trade priviliges to arch-rival Cyprus.
Turkey has managed to open only two chapters since it won the green light for talks in October 2005. It cannot formally close any chapter until the Cyprus dispute is resolved.
Foreign affairs expert Semih Idiz described Sarkozy as a "coarse representation of the basic fears and concerns of the French people" on issues such as the integration of Muslims and immigrants as well as Turkey's eventual EU membership.
"The rise of a Muslim-populated country and the possibility of it having an equal say with France in the EU cannot be easy to swallow for 'sugar-coated crypto-fascists'," he wrote in Milliyet.
Turkish-French ties have also been poisoned by France's recognition of the massacre of Armenians between 1915 and 1918 in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire as an act of genocide.
According to the Turkish press, Sarkozy also said that if he was elected president, he would sign into law a bill, passed in the National Assembly in October, that makes it a jailable offense to deny the killings were genocide -- a label Ankara fiercely rejects.
Oh No! It's Sarkozy
Ilnur Cevik - The New Anatolian / Ankara
08 May 2007
The election of Nicholas Sarkozy winning 53 percent of the votes in the second round of the presidential elections did not come as a surprise to anyone in Ankara but the victory still caused deep disappointment and concern in the Turkish government.
Turkish diplomatic sources said they feared Turkey's bumpy relations would take a beating with Sarkozy as the French president.
He has repeated several times that he does not want to see Turkey in the EU and will do everything to bloc it. Turkish authorities fear that Sarkozy could halt the accession talks.
"Further enlargement of the European Union is impossible without preliminary reforms in its institutions. An endless enlargement means death of political Europe. If I am elected as president of France Turkey will not enter EU during my office. Turkey is located on Asia Minor and it says everything," Sarkozy told his rival Segolene Royal during a TV debate last week.
During the same debate Royal reserved the right to change her mind on the issue, depending on future events, Sarkozy said his position is "definitive."
Soon after his victory was announced Sarkozy said Turkey should be the leader of a union of Mediterranean countries that will deal with the EU . . .
Observers said this means Sarkozy may move to use French veto powers to halt the accession negotiations with Turkey.
Turkey aware of these dangers has reportedly approached Germany to convince the French not to stop Turkey's accession process. Turkish officials argued that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also against Turkey's EU full membership but has not done anything to block it. So they feel Germany should use its good offices to convince Sarkozy not to take any radical moves on Turkey.
EU officials have also said they are dead against such a move especially at a time when Turkey is going through a political crisis and needs all the encouragement it can get to bolster its democracy.
What is also ironic is that Sarkozy is pro-American and is set to forge closer relations with Washington. President George W. Bush was the first to congratulate Sarkozy after his victory was announced.
Foreign policy analyst and commentator Cengiz Candar says Sarkozy's close relations with Bush could help Turkey to soften the French objections over the EU. The Americans want Turkey to join the EU and have often lobbied in favor of Ankara at times disturbing Germany and France.
Now the Bush administration could help in convincing Sarkozy to be more facilitating on Turkey. But Candar says this also means Turkey has to maintain closer ties with Washington.
Turkish diplomatic sources say their concerns about Sarkozy are not only limited to his negative attitude on Turkey's EU membership. They say his close relations with the Armenians in France who are highly anti-Turkish are also creating anxiety in Ankara.
They say Sarkozy's right-hand man Patric Devecian who is of Armenian origin is slated to be named into a top position in France if the conservatives win in the next parliamentary elections. There is even talk that he may become prime minister.
Devecian is regarded as the mastermind who convinced the French to legislate a law banning the denial of a so-called Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. The law which has drew angry reactions form Turkey has been stalled in the French Senate but could be revived if Sarkozy decides to push for it.
Turkish sources say Turco-French ties are already at an all time low and may slide further down with Sarkozy. Turkey has banned French companies form participating in defense tenders.
The New Anatolian learnt that France had a security attaché at the embassy whose term in office ended and he went back home. Now the French have decided not to send a replacement signaling worsening ties.
May 8, 2007
Turkish Daily News
The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French president increases the prospects for the adoption of a controversial bill penalizing any denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
France's National Assembly last October approved a Socialist-drafted proposal which stated that those denying the alleged genocide should be punished with a jail sentence and pay a fine of 45,000 euros.
The bill has yet to go before the Senate and then returns to the lower house before becoming law. During his election campaign Sarkozy reportedly said that if he were elected president, he would sign into law the contentious bill, which has already poisoned Turkish-French ties.
Sarkozy has given similar signals in recent times when he sent a letter to the French Armenian community describing the events of 1915 as genocide.
?France has recognized the Armenian Genocide and all must respect our law. France condemns any manifestation of hatred, violence and discrimination. France should resist Turkey's state policy of denial and senseless propaganda. France should condemn Armenian Genocide denial and prevent any propaganda of denial policy,? said the letter, which was published in the Turkish Daily News over the weekend.
Worried Turkey warns Sarkozy to quit election rhetoric
May 8, 2007
Sarkozy’s election victory worries Turkey over its decades-old ambitions to become an EU member and also on bilateral ties, which are already chilly. In an early reaction, Prime Minister Erdog(an says he hopes the French leader will give up on election rhetoric
FULYA ÖZERKAN - TAYLAN BILGIÇ
Turkish Daily News
Nicolas Sarkozy's election as president of France caused jitters in the Turkish capital on the future of the Turkish-European Union relations, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an in an early message expressing hope that the soon-to-be president would not repeat the same rhetoric he made in the election campaign.
"This is the decision of the French public, so we must respect it. I wish this will be beneficial. We hope we will not see in our bilateral relations from now on the same rhetoric Sarkozy has made during his election campaign regarding our EU process and Turkish-French ties," Erdog(an told reporters yesterday, a day after Sarkozy was elected.
Unlike his predecessor Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy is known as a politician staunchly against Turkey's membership in the EU. And he is not shy about it at all; last week, in his only televised debate with Socialist rival Segolene Royal, he declared that Turkey, being in ?Asia Minor,? could never be an EU member by definition. He went further to say that if Turkey is let in, ?it will be the end of EU.?
Asked whether Sarkozy's policies could have a negative impact on Turkey's already turbulent membership talks, Erdog(an said: ?I don't know. We will see his practices from now on.?
French Embassy sources here told the Turkish Daily News that it was too early to comment on how Sarkozy's policies would affect Turkish-French, as well as Turkish-EU ties. ?There will be a need to be patient.? But the same sources made it clear that the French public voted for Sarkozy not particularly because of his vehement opposition to Turkey's EU accession, saying that constituted only a part of the election campaign, which is over now.
Blow in Turkish-EU ties:
In his election campaign, Sarkozy often argued that Turkey ?has no place? inside the EU, raising the possibility of a risk to Ankara's ambitions to join the bloc.
Professor Ersin Onulduran of Ankara University drew a highly negative picture about Sarkozy's election as future president of France, illustrating it as a serious blow to Turkey's EU ambitions.
"Sarkozy, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will cause an irreparable damage to Turkey's EU bid," he said, though admitting that Turkey's possible membership would take years and that Sarkozy would not remain at the helm for 15 years.
"But there will be a slow down. Turkey's accession process, which is currently proceeding step by step, will become even slower," said Onulduran to the TDN.
The Franco-German axis:
Segolene Royal would have been preferable as the French president, said Rana Birdel from the ARI Movement. ?But it was evident that Sarkozy would win,? she noted. ?Now we have [Angela] Merkel in Germany and [Nicolas] Sarkozy in France who are cool to Turkish membership.?
The movement, which has lobbied strongly in favor of Turkey's EU bid, will continue its efforts, Birdel continued. ?We have many Francophone members, and we will try to change the public opinion there. Their problem is not having the correct information on Turkey, their problem is not wishing to have the correct information on Turkey.?
Sarkozy's presidency will probably lengthen Turkey's membership process, she said. "We do not foresee a bright period."
No radical decision expected:
However, veteran diplomat and Turkey's former London Ambassador Özdem Sanberk said there was no need for exaggerated concern. Reminding the words of Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, Sanberk said it was a unanimous decision of the European Council to start full membership negotiations with Turkey and this decision can only be annulled unanimously.
"There are 27 EU members today," said Sanberk to the TDN. ?Those who are certainly against Turkey's membership are only a handful: Austria, France and maybe a few more. The social democrats in Germany's grand coalition would not accept such an annulment. Neither would Britain.?
Sarkozy cannot force the EU to have a radical decision against Turkey in the short term, said Sanberk. Still, the veteran diplomat expects some tension.
There is a hidden agenda underneath Sarkozy's claim that "if Turkey joins, it would be the end of the EU," said Sanberk. "In fact, it would be the end of the French hegemony within the EU. France thinks the EU has stayed the same since the '70s, and German-French dominance is a phenomenon of those times. But this type of policy is impossible after the enlargement." The EU has to reinvent itself as a different system, he added.
On the other hand, premature comments from the Turkish side against the EU are also against Turkey's interests, Sanberk noted. "Let us not forget that the EU now encompasses the entire continent. And we have 600 years of history in the continent. Plus, over four million Turkish people live in EU member countries. This means we have a political and diplomatic base there."
The EU also cannot reject Turkey, as it would be a "strategical heedlessness." "It is the natural course of history that Turkey gets responsibility inside the EU," Sanberk concluded. "Because of this fact, I do not take Sarkozy's comments seriously. The dynamics of EU are making Turkey flow inside, like a great river. Of course the flow is not as straight as a line, but the eventual destination is the sea."
A Turning Point In Relations With France & Eu: President Sarkozy
May 8, 2007
Since the beginning of 2004, the anti-Turkey stance led especially by French and German politicians in the European Union (EU) has added to the hesitation of the Justice and Development Party. Thus the country's EU process is getting hurt more every day. The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France is a development which may prepare the transformation of this negative stance into a union-wide open policy. If Sarkozy wins a comfortable majority in the parliamentary elections in June, and if he implements fully his campaign promises, EU-Turkey and consequently France-Turkey relations will possibly go under a radical change.
Sarkozy's anti-Turkey approach has been shaped since the end of 2004. After he took the leadership of the Union for Popular Movement (UMP), two veteran Turkey opponents, the European Parliament's (EP) former Turkey rapporteur Alain Lamassoure, and a former minister Patrick Devedjian, became his Turkey advisers. Moreover, Sarkozy adopted an exorbitant political populism and his anti-Turkey stance has had a one-to-one relation with vote hunting. French politicians have long understood that one cannot be a friend of Turkey and continue a political career. In fact, except for immigration pressure fetched from outside and the effect of globalization on France, which means a total negative perception, the French voter does not care about foreign policy.
Seriousness needed in France from now on
Together with Sarkozy, seriousness is needed in France from now on. It is impossible to continue with implicit statements about Turkey, deals cut behind closed doors, facile books written about the ?privileged partnership' and discreditable remarks of the last three years. From now on, it will not suffice to make disjointed statements such as Turkey being geographically situated in Asia or like the ignorant remarks made during the televised presidential debate with the Socialist candidate Ségoléne Royal on May 2 that Turks are from Cappadocia so they are not from Europe. From now on, he should be more vigilant about statements on Cappadocia, hometown of one of the most venerated Christian saints, master of chevalier Saint George!
Sarkozy, who is against Turkey's membership to the Union and who will actually conduct the French foreign policy, should design a new explicit Turkey policy for both bilateral and multi-lateral purposes.
If Turkey-EU ties do not fall apart before, Turkey's membership will be carried into the agenda anyhow during an EU-wide election campaign for the EP elections in 2009. There is no other way out. The likelihood of using Turkey as an election theme is high with Sarkozy as president in France. One can argue that despite Sarkozy and, of course, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, all 27 EU countries cannot reach an agreement other than a membership status for Turkey. However, it is impossible for neither EU nor Turkey to continue with the current state of relations. Bilateral relations with the EU countries are harmed by the present status quo and nationalist ire in Turkey is getting sharpened in view of the faltering EU bid. As I have said for months, it is essential for both parties to have a hard look at the issue and reach a bold joint decision either to renew the mutual trust and trigger the relationship or to officially end it.
Despite this negative tableau, Sarkozy has three tender spots about Turkey. First, his proximity to the United States means he could be affected by that country's approach to EU- Turkey relations, which is traditionally positive. Secondly, at some level he has ties with these lands through his grandfather, a Jew from Thessalonica who raised Sarkozy. The third and the most crucial factor of all is the economic relationship between Turkey and France. With nearly four billion euros in investments, 250 French companies make money in Turkey. This may, of course, not be crucial for a country like France; however, it is not a figure to be ignored either.
Greetings From France
Sarkozy Plans Quick Reform Package
May 8, 2007
PARIS - The Associated Press
French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy plans to waste no time pushing through a weighty package of pro-market, anti-crime reforms - but the first battle is winning a majority in parliament in new elections next month.
Sarkozy, a conservative and an immigrant's son, defeated Socialist Segolene Royal by 53.06 percent to 46.94 percent with an 84 percent voter turnout, according to final results released early yesterday.
The win gave Sarkozy a strong mandate for his vision of France's future: He wants to free up labor markets, calls France's 35-hour work week absurd and plans tougher measures on crime and immigration.
"The people of France have chosen change," Sarkozy told cheering supporters in a victory speech that sketched out a stronger global role for France and renewed partnership with the United States.
A headline yesterday in Les Echos newspaper, a financial daily, read: "President Sarkozy: a wide majority for reforming the country in depth."
Union resistance:Still, his task will not be easy. Sarkozy is certain to face resistance from powerful unions to his plans to make the French work more and make it easier for companies to hire and fire.
Sarkozy planned to stay out of the public eye for a few days, said Francois Fillon, an adviser often cited as a candidate for prime minister. Sarkozy "will retire to somewhere in France to unwind a little ... and to start organizing and preparing his teams," Fillon told TF1 television.
The new president plans to take over power from outgoing leader Jacques Chirac on May 16. Fillon said Sarkozy's new government would be installed May 19 or 20.
The election left little time for celebrating: Legislative elections are slated for June 10 and 17, and Sarkozy's conservative UMP party needs a majority to keep his mandate for reforms. A win by the left would bring "cohabitation" - an awkward power-sharing with a leftist prime minister - which would put a stop to his plans.
Reform plans:Sarkozy, 52, has drawn up a whirlwind agenda for his first 100 days in office and plans to put big reforms before parliament at an extraordinary session in July. One bill would make overtime pay tax-free to encourage people to work more. Another would put in place tougher sentencing for repeat offenders, and still another would toughen the criteria for immigrants trying to bring their families to France.
On election night, scattered violence was reported around France. There had been fears that the impoverished suburban housing projects, home to Arab and African immigrants and their French-born children, would erupt again at the victory of a man who labeled those responsible for rioting in 2005 as "scum."
That abrasive style raised doubts over whether Sarkozy, himself the son of a Hungarian refugee, could unite a politically polarized, increasingly diverse nation.
Late Sunday, small bands of youths hurled stones and other objects at police at the Place de la Bastille in Paris. Some bared their backsides at riot officers behind their shields, and police fired volleys of tear gas. Two police unions said firebombs targeted schools and recreation centers in several towns in the Essonne region just south of Paris.
In Sarkozy's victory speech, he reached out to those he has alienated in the past, promising to be president "of all the French, without exception."
Reaching out to US:The White House said U.S. President George W. Bush had called to congratulate Sarkozy, who is largely untested in foreign policy but reached out to the United States in his victory speech, an indication of his desire to break from the trans-Atlantic tension of the Chirac era.
Sarkozy also made it clear that France would remain an independent voice. The United States, he declared, can "count on our friendship," but he added that "friendship means accepting that friends can have different opinions."
He urged the United States to take the lead on climate change and said the issue would be a priority for France. "A great nation, like the United States, has a duty not to block the battle against global warming but - on the contrary - to take the lead in this battle, because the fate of the whole of humanity is at stake," Sarkozy said.
In some European capitals, Sarkozy's victory inspired hope that he might lend a decisive hand to efforts to salvage the European Union's hopes of greater integration, largely on hold since French and Dutch voters rejected a proposed EU constitution in 2005.The hand-over of power ushers in a president from a new generation, who has no memory of World War II and waged the country's first high-octane Internet campaign.
Sarkozy’s Real Fear: A Developing Turkey
It is already obvious that Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidency will not be advantageous for Turkey.
He has not hesitated to use opposition against Turkey in his election campaign and hitting Turkey with low blows on every occasion. When he was claimed to be an American supporter, he defended himself by saying, “If I were like that, then I wouldn’t be against Turkey’s EU membership, which is favored by Washington.” There is no doubt he is glad to see his statements are inducing anti-Western feelings in Turkey. However, those watching Sarkozy and saying “Did you see, they don’t want us in the EU,” should know the following: Sarkozy is not afraid of the flow of Anatolian villagers into France. EU countries have already started taking measures of such a flow against even new EU members. The real fear of Sarkozy and those like him is actually a developing, competitive and growing Turkey whose global strategic position is better than even that of France. This rise of a Muslim-populated Turkey with full freedom of speech joining France in the EU some day is not an easy thing for the sugar-coated fascists to swallow.
Semih Idiz, Milliyet
Ankara Hopes Presidential Responsibility Will Mellow Sarkozy
Although the new French president's opposition to Turkey's EU bid formed a definite part of his pitch to attract voters who rejected the EU constitution in 2005, the Turkish capital said that Nicolas Sarkozy will eventually "come to his senses" concerning the strategic vitality of Turkey's relations with both France and the EU -- noting that assuming the full responsibility of the presidential office is different than staging popular election propaganda on the streets.
Invited by reporters to comment on Sarkozy's presidency as he came to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) headquarters in Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that the election of Sarkozy was the French people's prerogative. "We have to respect the decision of the French people," Erdogan added.
"In regards to both [Turkey's] EU process and French-Turkish relations, our wish is that from now on we do not see the same statements that Sarkozy has made in election meetings in our bilateral relations," he added, in an apparent reference to Sarkozy's staunch objection to Turkey's EU bid, which he displayed up until the very last minute of his presidential campaign.With 75 percent of the vote counted, the conservative Sarkozy had 53.35 percent of the vote compared to 46.65 percent for Socialist Segolene Royal, according to the French Interior Ministry. Turnout was a strong 85 percent. Sarkozy argues that most of Turkey’s territory is in Asia and that the idea of united Europe would be diluted if its borders stretched that far. Similar to EU term president Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, he has consistently favored an unofficial offer to Turkey of a “privileged partnership” status, rather than its target of full membership of the EU.
“I don’t know. We will see his practices from now on,” Erdogan briefly said, in response to questions as to whether Sarkozy’s policies could have a negative impact on Turkey’s already turbulent membership talks, taking into consideration the fact that “two of three powerful EU countries have already been against Turkey’s full membership.”
Journalists were apparently referring to the fact that there could emerge a spontaneous alliance between Sarkozy and Merkel, and that Britain, another powerful EU member, has been a firm supporter of Turkey’s EU bid. Asked whether he held any contacts with the French leader or congratulated him, Erdogan replied: “We’ve already sent a written congratulation.”
Diplomatic sources, speaking under condition of anonymity, told Today’s Zaman on Monday that they expected Sarkozy to assume a softer line toward Turkey’s EU aspirations since he would eventually notice the difference between holding the responsibility of a presidential election campaign and holding the heavyweight responsibility of a presidential office. In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has appealed to Sarkozy not to block entry talks with Turkey, which started in 2005 but are expected to last at least a decade, while also congratulating him. “We negotiate with Turkey on the basis of a mandate that was decided unanimously with the [EU] member states,” Barroso told reporters on Sunday when asked about Sarkozy’s stance on Turkey’s EU bid, urging France to wait until the accession negotiations with Ankara had come to an end.
“The commission’s position is that we should continue these negotiations and we recommend to the member states only to make a decision on whether or not Turkey should join based on the results of these negotiations,” Barroso also said.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) on Monday released a press statement titled “Alas Sarkozy!” in which it criticized Sarkozy’s populist stance regarding Turkey’s EU bid.
“The new French president’s closeness to the US as well as its view concerning Turkey has the potential of rupturing the EU from inside. Problematic days are ahead for French political close to people as well as for its ghettos. Turkey should be careful regarding Sarkozian France’s new departures. Taking the ‘correct’ side regarding problems that will be created by Sarkozy will be important for the position that Turkey will hold in the global political system and for Turkey-EU relations,” the SODEV statement said.
Emine Kart Ankara
Sarkozy’s European Vision, Some Headaches Ahead
European Union officials are preparing for headaches as they digest some of the European views of French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, despite their congratulatory statements and sighs of relief.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was quick to welcome his centre-right ally’s victory, voicing confidence that Sarkozy would put France back at the heart of European integration and work for a quick solution to replace the bloc’s defunct constitution.
“I have every confidence that Nicolas Sarkozy, whose convictions I know and whose strong beliefs are known to all, will play a driving role in resolving the institutional question and in consolidating a political Europe,” Barroso said. But other Brussels officials are alarmed at some of the conservative Gaullist’s other campaign promises, inspired by a philosophy of national and European economic protection at odds with EU orthodoxy, and at his opposition to Turkey’s candidacy.
In his acceptance speech, Sarkozy proclaimed himself a lifelong European and said, “Tonight France is back in Europe.” But he also urged France’s partners to hear the voice of the people who want to be protected , and who see the EU as a Trojan Horse for all the threats of a changing world. EU officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they assumed Sarkozy would be more orthodox in government than he had sounded when running for office.
But his campaign rhetoric raised several anxious questions in Brussels: - Will he really push for a weaker euro and how? - Will he prevent the EU making necessary concessions to reach a world trade agreement this year? - And will he try to halt Turkey’s accession negotiations, as President Charles de Gaulle did twice with Britain in the 1960s?
Euro, trade and Turkey
As a candidate, Sarkozy repeatedly blamed the European Central Bank for the single currency’s high exchange rate, which he said was hitting European competitiveness. “We are depriving ourselves of an instrument to create growth, provide jobs, for purely ideological reasons,” he said. EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia went out of his way to rebut that view. He reaffirmed on Monday that figures show EU exports have not suffered from the strong euro, indeed France’s trade balance with the United States has improved.
In interviews with French media, Almunia warned against demagogic arguments on the euro and said, “People must not give in to the temptation of a protectionist discourse.”
A Plea To The Next French President
These are uncomfortable times for young, cosmopolitan Turks who want their country to have a European future. Especially troubling is the downturn in relations between our nation and the country on which the Turkish republic, and its firmly secular Constitution, were modelled - France.
Young Turks of my generation are, to put it mildly, interested in the result of the French presidential election : Will it be won by Nicolas Sarkozy, an opponent of Turkey’s membership in the European Union, or by Ségolène Royal, who is more open to the idea of Turkish entry ? Either way, the new occupant of Élysée Palace will have to cope with a rapid short-term decline in relations between the two republics - a decline that is worrying to European-minded Turks of all ages.
Only a few weeks ago, Turkey suspended talks with the French gas company, Gaz de France, over the Nabucco pipeline project that would carry Caspian energy to Europe. Shortly before that, the Turkish authorities made it harder for French planes to use their country’s airspace.
These gestures are the latest symptoms of Turkey’s official dismay over a law passed by the French Parliament last year that makes it a criminal offense to deny that the Ottoman Armenians suffered genocide in 1915. Similar legislation exists in Switzerland. In Turkey, meanwhile, people who assert the opposite - that genocide did occur - can face prosecution under the penal code introduced in 2005.
The net result is that efforts to understand a complex historical period have been reduced to a single yes or no question : Was there a genocide ?
An awkward position
As Turks who attend universities in the West (I am studying in England ; many of my friends study in France or Germany) we are in an awkward position. Leaving behind the conformist atmosphere of our homeland, we feel a challenge to look beyond the traditional answers to the hard questions about our national history. At the same time, many of us are conscious of being representatives of a country whose European credentials are under scrutiny.
In practice, some Turkish students react by forming close-knit groups that follow the official line. These groups do battle in campus debates with equally aggressive students who want the 1915 tragedy to be classified as genocide. Such debates involve repeating memorized animosities, while saying nothing new, and learning nothing new.
The alternative is to plunge into open-ended historical discussions without assuming there is a single, black-and-white answer. Many of us feel that this bloody chapter of the 20th century cannot be summed up by a simple yes or no. But this conclusion makes our lives more difficult, because shades of grey satisfy nobody. In trying to understand the tragedy that shapes the Armenian psyche, we risk being ostracized by fellow expatriates, and denounced by hard-liners back home.
Nor does openness to dialogue about the events of 1915 win many points with the "other side." The mere fact that we don’t begin the conversation with a submissive yes means we are still dismissed as "Turks in denial" - and potential criminals in the eyes of French or Swiss courts.
Even if discussions about politics or history bear no fruit, we can at least relate to one another as members of the same generation who share common interests, as well as similar cultures. But finding a common language proves difficult, as our "parents" in places like Paris, Brussels and Ankara have given us none.
As students in foreign lands, we should in principle be more receptive to new ideas than our compatriots back home. To some of us, at least, it seems clear that a common understanding of the tragedies of World War I will not be reached by a process in which one side, and then another, reels off uncompromising arguments. The only hope is for each side to take steps toward understanding the other.
So here is a plea to the victor of the French election. Monsieur le président (or Madame la présidente), do not make things any harder for the young people of Turkey. There are a lot of us - nearly a third of the Turkish population is under 16 - and one way or another, we will make a difference to Europe’s destiny.
07 May 2007
© Turquie Europeenne
© ERAREN www.eraren.org
Interview: Top Sarkozy Aide Promises Rocky Road For Turkey
10 May 2007
In an exclusive interview with EurActiv.fr , MEP Alain Lamassoure says that French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy will make . good on his pre-election declaration of breaking accession negotiations with Turkey. He also underlines the priorities for the upcoming 2008 French EU Presidency.
"Nicolas Sarkozy has made the revival of Europe one of his top priorities," Alain Lamassoure told EurActiv.fr. "For six months, he has worked with France's European partners on the institutional revival of the EU," he underlines.
On the Constitutional Treaty, Lamassoure indicates Sarkozy's search for a compromise: "France placed Europe in crisis by rejecting the Constitutional Treaty. Nicolas Sarkozy respects the choice of the French, but considers that our country has the duty to propose a contribution to get Europe out of trouble."
"He does not think of Europe in 'Franco-French terms' - his plans are in their timing, method and spirit in keeping with Chancellor Merkel's proposals."
But on Turkey, Sarkozy's aide says that "the accession process with Turkey...constitutes a major error".
"European leaders made a promise in 1999, that they are today unable to keep. They did not consult anybody: not their Parliaments, governments, nor public opinion - hostility towards Turkish accession began in France and the Netherlands, but it is now apparent that Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark and Ireland are similarly opposed."
"Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would break off negotiations with Turkey if elected. He will do it."
The full interview is in French and located at:
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Editor's Note: Following text was created by a French to English Google Translation Engine and may not be as accurate as human translation
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Alain Lamassoure (UMP): The revival of Europe, priority of Nicolas Sarkozy
Alain Lamassoure, European deputy (PPE-DE) and secretary general of UMP on the European questions, underline the need for reforming the Community institutions to start again Europe. He announces that Nicolas Sarkozy will stress the European policy of safety and defense during the French presidency of the EU in 2008.
EurActiv.fr: A Rumanian journalist wrote recently in connection with the French presidential election: “the future of Europeans thus depends now on the political choice of the French”. Why the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, is, according to you, a “chance” for the revival of Europe?
Nicolas Sarkozy made revival of Europe one of his top priority. He was only candidates to have made this choice. For six months, it has worked with our European partners on the institutional revival of the EU. Moreover, it does not think Europe in Franco-French term. Its proposals are at the same time in the calendar, the method, and the spirit chosen by the European Council on the proposals of Mrs Merkel. France put Europe in crisis by rejecting the constitutional Treaty. Nicolas Sarkozy respects the choice of the French, but considers that our country has the duty to propose with its partners a contribution to leave Europe this crisis. The treaty that we propose, largely taken again by the German presidency, takes account of all these parameters.
The French contribution to the questionnaire prepared by the German presidency on the contents of a future institutional treaty, differed by the presidential election, is awaited in the next days. Certain questions refer to the wishes expressed by the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, or Poland to give up any term likely to compare the EU to a federal State. What do you think about it?
We are not surprised by the contents of this questionnaire and are completely ready to answer it.
What counts for us it is the substance, not the vocabulary. We want a treaty ordinary allowing to make evolve/move the European institutional mechanism to make decisions in Europe with 27. This is why we propose to take again only the principal provisions of part I of the text rejected by the French in May 2005.
We are on the other hand in agreement with the British at least on a point: it is necessary to avoid the use of the words “constitution” or “constitutional” and to be very vigilant on the presentation of certain provisions, which could give to this treaty a constitutional character. The French are not ready to approve a European constitution, we took of it note, we respect this vote.
So some of our partners consider moreover necessary to modify, for example, the denomination of the future Foreign Minister, or to delete the article relating to the symbols of the EU, we are ready to discuss it. But we will not compromise on the capacities and the statute of future representing of the EU, nor on the list of the questions which it is necessary from now on to treat in the majority qualified. It is important to take again all the legal innovations on which convention had agreed. They constitute only acceptable effective balance today by all the Member States.
Nicolas Sarkozy stated during the countryside not to want to subject the future institutional treaty to a referendum. He proposes a parliamentary ratification. Don't you think only this method is likely to cause sharp reactions in France?
Not, because we do not propose a new project of constitution, but an ordinary treaty. It is a question of withdrawing from the constitutional treaty the provisions criticized during the countryside, i.e. primarily the 300 articles of the third part. Taking into account its importance and owing to the fact that Nicolas Sarkozy announced during the countryside his intention not to organize a referendum on this ordinary treaty, the French presidential election is worth referendum. Nobody can moreover dispute that the French Parliament, which will ratify the text, is elected democratically.
Lastly, a second failure would be likely to oppose between them the European people. It is necessary to leave the Franco-French debate. How, for example, to ask the Spaniards, who approved the project of constitution - however unfavourable in Spain in political term of weight - per referendum, to again subject a text by the votes of its population?
To solemnly announce today the organization of a referendum on a new treaty, it is to take the risk to torpedo the initiative in progress deliberately or then to lie to the French, because there will be no referendum on this text.
To put does the question of the revival of Europe to the citizens of the EU thus mean, according to you, to expose no matter what it arrives at a negative answer?
In a certain way yes. It is almost certain that the population of the one of the Member States will reject the text. But all the governments ask that this institutional treaty be ratified by the national Parliaments. That being known as, to be really democratic, Europe will have, one day, need for a constitution. This stage must, according to us, to take place after 2009. It will then be a question of giving in building site the subjects which were not correctly covered in the project of constitution rejected by the French. Once negotiated, this new text will have to be approved by referendum, by all Europeans, the same day. The Member States will be thus with equality.
It will also be necessary to announce in advance which the countries which will say not will leave the club. A State alone cannot prevent the others from continuing to work together. On the other hand, we cannot oblige a country to return in a union which is not appropriate to him.
But the political conditions are not today sufficiently ripe to propose such a project.
In France, the reality of the role and action of the European Union do not correspond to the image only in with the population. Isn't this related to the refusal of the French leaders to communicate clearly on these questions?
This distortion is explained easily: Europe does not have a leader who is clean for him. Contrary to the often conveyed idea, this shift in the spirit of the population is not related to a problem of information or presentation of Europe. It is about a problem of incarnation of Europe. The institutional system is in question.
In France, the president is judged with the way in which it controls the country, and if one speaks about Europe, with the way in which it defended the interests of France within the EU. If the treaty that we propose between in force before 2009, the principal legislator at the time of the next European elections becomes the European Parliament. The chief appointed by the democratically elected parliamentary majority will be then automatically the president of the Commission. He will be consequently much more than one simple senior official referee between political groups. The EU will then have for the first time her own political leaders. And I am ready to bet that the President of the Republic or French the Prime Minister will not be able to show any more Europe of all the words on the first occasion.
The recent declarations of Nicolas Sarkozy on the European central Bank (ECB) and the euro caused sharp reactions. Which are its proposals as regards monetary policy?
One extremely needs a political power for the head of the Euro zone. We do not have today political authority at the European level to allow us to fight with equal weapons with the other great international currencies like the dollar, the Japanese yen or the Chinese yuan. It is the great gap underlined by Nicolas Sarkozy during the countryside. The eurogroupe (meeting of the Ministers for Finance of the zone euro) exists, but its action is insufficient. Only a political power extremely will enable us to reduce the limits of fluctuation between the great currencies, like that was made in 1985 during the signature of the agreements of Plazza. We need a negotiation on this subject with countries like the United States, Japan or China.
As for the objectives of the ECB, they are clear. The function first of a central Bank is to defend the quality of the currency. What would we say if the Euro were a melting currency? Once this achieved objective, the ECB must, according to European treaties', to give its support for the economic policies of the EU. It is not sufficiently the case. We want to discuss this subject with our partners. But with this intention, France must give before from the order in its finances. On the 13 country of the zone Euro, our country was before the last in term of growth rate in 2006.
The negotiation of the budget will be one of the important files of the French presidency of the EU in 2008, with in the middle of the discussions the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the cost of the CAP was “neither unjustified, nor excessive”. It is not the point of view of the majority of the Member States. How does it hope to carry out the negotiations on this subject?
Nicolas Sarkozy would wish to renovate the community preference to finance the CAP. One of the solutions could be to develop the labels such as the products of label of origin or the labels bio, for example.
The financing of the CAP is a different subject. The assistances with the farmers (support of the markets, support of the products) are financed at 100% by the EU since the creation of the CAP. 80% of the Community budget were with the departure devoted to the CAP. Today, we are to 40%. It is still much. Within the framework of the negotiations on the financial prospects, president Jacques Chirac however obtained the maintenance of the amount of the European agricultural budget on his current level until 2013. We will not reconsider this objective. But, beyond, a reorientation will be necessary.
The budget of the European Union will have to be at least equal to the ceiling of 1,24% of the GDP fixed at the beginning of the years 1990, if we want to be able to finance new competences of the EU as regards research, of transport… But the increase in this budget could not be done only on the own capital stocks of the Member States. It will be necessary to find resources alternate of financing (see the report/ratio of Alain Lamassoure on the own resources of the Union).
Which are different the large files on which Nicolas Sarkozy will wish to lay the stress at the time of the French presidency?
The energy policy, the partnership Mediterranean euro and the questions of immigration will belong to the important building sites. The European policy of safety and defense (PESD) will be one of the other building sites of the French presidency. Europe is the only area of the world not to have political priorities as regards foreign politics. The choices which we make are dictated by others. Either the EU reacts to an external event, like that was for example the case at the time of the crisis in Darfur, or it acts according to the choices carried out by Washington. We are more spectators than actors, more financial than decision makers. The EU reached a sufficiently important level of integration so that more no country takes strong diplomatic initiative on a great subject without in speaking with the others. But we are not enough plain to act together. We are satisfied to comment on, deliver the maid or bad marks. The new treaty will make it possible to have a president of the European Council and a Foreign Minister of the full-time Union. They will be able more easily to define priorities as regards foreign politics. We will be then capable to reconsider our manner of working with the Americans.
The accession of Turkey at the EU would have been one of the causes of the rejection of the constitutional Treaty by the French. Nicolas Sarkozy prevented that it would be opposed to this adhesion. He will thus reconsider the commitment entered into by Jacques Chirac in 2006?
The adhesion of a new Member State decides unanimously. France will be able thus completely to be opposed to the total accession of Turkey at the EU if it wishes it. Political Europe is reserved for the European countries. It is not the case of Turkey, which is located in minor Asia. It does not have thus vocation to enter the Union.
The process of negotiation of adhesion engaged with Turkey constitutes a major error. The European leaders took, in 1999, of engagements which they are today unable to hold. They, at the time, did not consult anybody: neither their Parliaments, neither their governments, nor their public opinions and discover today at which point Europeans favour this idea. This hostility appeared in France and in the Netherlands at the time of the debate chief clerk and constitutes the only reason common to the rejection of the text in the two countries. The reading of the press and the observation of the parliamentary debates show that the state of mind is the same one in Belgium, in Luxembourg, in Germany, in Austria, in Hungary, as Slovenia, in Greece, in Cyprus, in Denmark and in Ireland. It is true that meanwhile, of the negotiations were started. The rupture is always difficult. But in the cases of this kind, the experiment shows that it is easier to break a flirt than engagement, to break engagement, than a marriage, and to break a marriage without child, than a marriage with children. Nicolas Sarkozy announced during the countryside that it would break the negotiations with Turkey if it were elected. He will do it.
This maintenance was carried out the 27/04/2007.