Turkey-Skeptic France seeks partnership with Tukish firms to deal with China
Impressed by Turkey's striking economic performance during the height of the global economic crisis, France, a longtime opponent of Turkey's European Union accession bid, is seeking partnership with Turkish firms to be able to compete with China. Speaking to the French Parliament yesterday, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called for Turkish and French firms to cooperate to boost their chances of besting China in tenders in Africa. "Turkey plays a key role in the Balkans, the Middle East and beyond, all over the world," Kouchner said. Turkish and French construction firms can join forces to better their performance, he said. Asked about Turkey's EU aspirations, Kouchner said, however, "Let's give it time." An anonymous French business source told AFP that more and more French firms are seeking strategic and economic cooperation with their Turkish counterparts, especially in less developed countries. "If we join forces with Turkish firms, we can be more effective in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, and we can prevent China from sweeping us away from Africa," said the source. "In 2007 Turkey had seven embassies in Africa, but by year's-end this number will reach 32."