French FM suggests low-speed EU talks for Turkey
The foreign minister of Turkey-skeptic France yesterday suggested keeping Turkey's full European Union accession negotiations going at a snail's pace, expressing his country's concerns regarding the opening of some of the negotiation chapters. "This matter (the negotiations) has to be left to its own natural course. It should not be handled in a speedy manner," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said after arriving in Ankara for a two-day visit starting with a dinner with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Kouchner is also set to inaugurate the new Charles De Gaulle School in Ankara. According to Kouchner, Turkey's negotiation chapters should be opened one by one. "But that doesn't mean that these (Turkish-EU) relations contain any doubts or any hostility. As long as Turkey completes the reforms, there will be forward movement," he said. Declining to preview what he would say to Davutoglu, Kouchner did say France wants Turkey to be more active in the Union for the Mediterranean, a bloc spearheaded by France to create closer links between coastal countries. Stressing that his views on Turkey's EU bid differ from those of his French colleagues, Kouchner also expressed his personal admiration for Turkey. "It has yet to complete its development, but Turkey is the only country that is simultaneously Muslim, modern, democratic and secular," he said. He added, "I have a great admiration for Turkish diplomacy's power, liveliness, and ways of getting results. I mean this sincerely. Turkish diplomacy truly is filled with universality, liveliness and success." Kouchner also praised his Turkish counterpart, Davutoglu, calling him "determined, active and wise."