Sunday, 22 April 2012

According to the polls, Socialist candidate Hollande should prevail in the first round of the French presidential elections today and then the second round two weeks later, barring a major upset. Along with Merkel in Germany, Sarkozy has been one of the principal forces obstruction Turkey's accession to the EU. So how will a President Hollande change that? In both France and Germany, the Socialist parties are much more favourable to Turkish accession. So certainly the mood music will change a little. But in fact, Hollande has been much more stand-offish about Turkey than most of the rest of his party. Asked about the issue during the presidential campaign, Hollande was emphatic that there would be no Turkish accession during the next five-year presidential term.
"Today, there is a negotiation process which has also been underway for several years" but "no major condition has been fulfilled, and therefore, in the next five-year term, there will be no Turkish accession to the European Union." Pressed by journalists, Mr Hollande insisted: "That will not happen in the next five-year term", if he is elected on the 6 May.
Source: Le Monde For several years Hollande has let it be understood that, if he was elected president, the negotiations with Turkey would be very long. Turkey's refusal to apply the customs union to the Greek part of Cyprus is a particular sticking point, as is Turkey's failure to recognise the Armenian Genocide. In 2004, when he met Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in his capacity as First Secretary of the Socialist Party, Hollande said he was in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU in principle, "on condition that the accession criteria are fulfilled" mentioning particularly "the question of human right and recognition of the Armenian Genocide."
Two months later, he signed, along with Mourad Papazian, president of the Armenian Socialist Party, a joint text calling for Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide. Because, perhaps even more than the Cypriot question, it is Ankara's failure to recognise the Armenian Genocide of 1915 that has inspired the position of Mr Hollande. For a long time the candidate has interested himself in Armenia and has gone out of his way to ensure that his party was on point in the battle for recognition of this genocide.

More recently, while the socialist groups in the senate and national assembly seemed to get in a muddle on the vote on the proposed law criminalising denial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which was presented on the initiative of Nicolas Sarkozy's majority, he said that he personally was in favour of its adoption. He has never wavered on this object of tension between Paris and Ankara.
Source: Le Monde

So, it looks as though it's not as bad as it might have been if the Socialists win in France.

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