Turkey does not belong in Europe: Sarkozy

sept 07 AFP

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed on Thursday he did not believe Turkey should be admitted to the European Union, while calling for a "true partnership" with the mainly-Muslim nation.

"I do not believe that Turkey belongs in Europe, and for a simple reason, which is that it is in Asia minor," Sarkozy said in a prime-time interview on TF1 and France 2 television.

"What I wish to offer Turkey is a true partnership with Europe, it is not integration with Europe," said the president, who recently appeared to have softened his opposition to Turkish membership of the European bloc.

Public hostility to Ankara's entry to the EU was seen as one of the reasons for the French rejection of a draft EU constitution in a 2005 referendum.