Turkey, Sarkozy Differ on EU Membership

Turkish leaders are at odds with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about the nation's membership in the European Union following his most recent visit to Ankara on Friday.

Sarkozy visited the Turkish capital as the current president of the G-20, technically not on a state visit as a European leader. Nevertheless, President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan are disappointed with Sarkozy's treatment of their country.

"We would have liked to welcome the President of the French Republic, but on Friday he is not coming as president of the French Republic, but as chairman of the G20," Erdogan told the Agence France-Presse news agency, according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that Turkey would like support from France to improve its candidacy as a member of the EU. French officials told reporters that this was not the point of Sarkozy's visit.

Sarkozy spent six hours in Ankara, meeting separately with Gul and Erdogan.

France, Germany and Austria are all opponents to Turkey's EU membership since its entry talks in 2005, according to Bloomberg. A conflict with Cyprus has hindered the nation's progress.

"I believe it is necessary to have as close relations as possible, without going for full membership of the European Union, which would not actually be beneficial for either Turkey or the European Union," Sarkozy said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sarkozy cited French public opinion as another motivating factor for his stance.

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