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Chirac lays out Turkey EU accession plans

Dec. 6, 2004 at 12:42 PM

PARIS, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- French President Jacques Chirac Monday outlined three conditions Turkey must meet to continue European Union membership talks.

Chirac told the Financial Times negotiations with Turkey could end if there is less than full EU membership support, adding the French had the right to reject Turkey's membership in a referendum. He also requested accession talks be discontinued until the second half of 2005.

The French president's final demand was to ensure that discussions on Turkey's EU membership be separate from the debate on the EU Constitution. The French referendum on the Constitution is expected to take place this upcoming Spring.

"If there is a link between Turkey and the constitution, we will lose the referendum. It's as simple as that," said Michel Barnier, French foreign minister told the Times.

The French president is hoping to add language at the EU Summit Dec. 16-17 to secure Turkey's membership, even without full support by all members states or the French public.

According to a French public opinion poll taken in September, 56 percent were opposed to Turkey's membership to the European Union. Among those who opposed the membership, 40 percent said their main concern was the impact of Turkey on the job market.

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