Sarkozy, invited to Turkey by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Paris on Wednesday, said he may visit after November, the Anatolia news agency reported.
But the French leader refused to change his stance towards Turkey’s EU membership bid, Anatolia said, reporting that the two sides repeated their known positions during talks held in Paris.
Despite their disagreements, Sarkozy and Erdogan said they were committed to improving bilateral ties between Turkey and France. The two sides also appeared to disagree on the issue of sanctions against Iran, but Sarkozy announced full backing for Turkey’s fight against terrorism.
Erdogan traveled to the French capital in a bid to boost diplomatic ties and enhance cooperation in the fields of economy, energy and transportation between the two countries.
Ahead of his meeting with the French president, Erdogan expressed hope that the French leader may have changed his position on Turkey’s bid to become a full EU member. “I am not giving way to despair. I think Sarkozy will reconsider his approach [toward Turkey’s bid],” Erdogan told reporters. “Turkey has fulfilled more Copenhagen and Maastricht criteria than some EU member countries,” he added.
France is a strong opponent of Turkey’s full membership in the union. The Turkish prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Egemen Bagiş, state minister and chief negotiator for EU talks, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay and State Minister Zafer Caglayan during his visit. The French president welcomed Erdogan at the Elysée Palace.
The two had a meeting at the palace that lasted almost one hour. Davutoglu and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, along with Bagis and the French secretary of state for European affairs, Pierre Lellouche, were also present during the meeting.
Erdogan and Sarkozy discussed bilateral ties between Turkey and France. Erdogan later met with the CEOs of prominent French companies. The French Foreign Ministry announced that Erdogan and Sarkozy met in order to boost economic ties between Turkey and France and to discuss new cooperative projects between the two countries in the fields of transportation, energy and infrastructure.
The Turkish prime minister and the French president were also expected to discuss international issues — such as Afghanistan, the Middle East and Iran — during their meeting.