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May 18,2007
Turkey says no to Mediterranean Union idea
by UPI

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey Friday rejected French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to set up a "Mediterranean Union."

Sarkozy presented the idea as an alternative to Turkey's bid to join the European Union, The EU Observer reported Friday.

"Turkey is a country that has started (accession) negotiations with the European Union. The negotiations started on the basis of a (EU) decision which was taken unanimously, including France," Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said.

Gul, who has headed Turkey's EU talks, said "putting obstacles to the progress of the negotiation process would amount to violating signatures and promises made in the past, which I do not think will happen."

Sarkozy proposed including the 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea into a new coalition, making Turkey the head of the group.

But, Turkey's political figures in Ankara are against the idea.

"Turkey is one of the Mediterranean countries, but cooperation in the Mediterranean is one thing and cooperation within Europe is something else," Gul said.

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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