Disagreements between the US and France over Turkey’s EU ambitions have surfaced during talks between their leaders.
President Barack Obama had come to France to mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day and he was warmly welcomed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. They discussed a range of issues including EU-US relations and Iran’s nuclear programme. But they differed on Turkey, whose EU entry France opposes. At a press conference Obama said: “I do think that Turkey is an enormously important ally in NATO, they are helping us in Afghanistan in that critical effort, they have a growing economy, they are interested in further integration with Europe, and I would encourage that, so I’ve said publicly that Turkish membership in the EU would be important.” Sarkozy said: “We have differences on the form, but there aren’t any differences on the objective of Turkey being a part of the bridge between East and West. I said to President Obama that, for me, it’s very important that Europe has its borders.” The presidents did, however, reaffirm their joint support for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict and agreed to work together on the global economy.