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EU Constitution's Future in the Hands of Turkey?

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Section: International News Geography: Europe France, Turkey

May 9, 2005

EU Constitution's Future in the Hands of Turkey?

by Efe Peker

"There's no correlation between Turkey's membership and the EU Constitution," Jacques Chirac explained on a live television program, adding that "Europe needs enlargement to be strong and to expand the values of democracy and peace."

The need for such clarification stems from pressures by the right-wing anti-constitution movement and its placement of Turkey's pending EU membership at the centre of its campaign.

According to recent polls, 70 to 80 per cent of the French public is suspicious of the EU's decision in December 2004 to begin formal negotiations with Turkey. This discontent may substantially affect discussions of a draft EU Constitution.

Chirac warned: "I know all too well that there is also a temptation to twist the referendum for political gain. The stakes involved in the European constitution are national and European."

Despite having promised that the issue of Turkey's accession will be left to a separate French referendum to be held in a decade at the end of last year, it seems that Chirac could not prevent the association of the EU Constitution to Turkey's entrance into the Union.

As campaigning on both sides of the Consitution debate intensifies, French commentators are doubtful about whether the president's 'yes campaign' will be successful in increasing the 48 per cent to a simple majority before May 29th.

BBC: Chirac makes case for EU treaty

EuroActiv.com: The EU 25's view of Turkey's membership bid

Radikal (in Turkish): Chirac: The Consitution and Turkey are two separate things

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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