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[UPDATE] Macron advocates strategic partnership, not EU membership, for Turkey

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Europe must focus on establishing a strong strategic partnership with Turkey instead of membership in the European Union, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday at a meeting with French diplomats.

Macron considers it necessary to step up strategic cooperation between the EU and both Russia and Turkey, Russian news agency TASS reported.

“We cannot build and develop Europe long term without revisiting our relations with Russia and Turkey,” Macron said.

“Can we sensibly and sincerely presume today that further talks about Turkey’s accession to the EU are possible if the Turkish president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], with whom I have had unusually intensive contacts for more than a year, is promoting a pan-European project that is constantly being presented as anti-European? That is, the measures that he regularly takes contradict our principles. In this case we have to develop a truly effective solution that will correspond to our position,” the French president noted.

Paris should develop strategic partnerships, he said. “We’ve got to develop conditions for strategic partnership with both Russia and Turkey because these are the two states that are needed to [provide] our collective security.”

He added that “these countries should be ‘linked’ to Europe because the history of the peoples of these countries evolved jointly with Europe’s history. And we have to build our future together.”

“That is, we have to work out new solutions on all issues but without the uncertain bureaucratic jabs we are so used to resorting to. We overcame the Cold War era, and President Erdoğan’s Turkey is not the Turkey of [founding father of the country Mustafa] Kemal. These are the two realities, and we need to draw the necessary conclusions from them,” the French president said.

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