Today's date:
Winter 2003


Turkey Is Not Part of Europe

Valéry Giscard D'Estaing, the former French president and chairman of the European Union's constitutional council, caused a stir by saying in Le Monde on Nov. 8 that Turkey's entry into the EU "would destroy Europe." The following excerpt from a longer interview with NPQ in February, 2000 shows Giscard's long-standing view.

Paris - The way the Turkish question has been handled by the EU seems to me unrealistic. Almost no one among the European leaders is ready or willing to accept Turkey as a full member of the European Union. Moreover, it is unfair to the Turks to lead them to believe there is a good chance for them to join.

There are two reasons that make it impossible. First, except for Istanbul, Turkey is not located on the European Continent, but mainly in Asia. Second, if we start admitting countries not located in Europe, by which criteria do we reject membership by any state? If we want to have a real, deep integration, it must be with people of comparable conditions, politically, economically and culturally, all located on the European soil.

Look at Morocco. Like Turkey, it is very close to Europe. We have a lot of friendly links. We want to establish a special relationship with North Africa. But no one has seriously suggested that Morocco join the EU.

I don't see how Turkey, though one of our most important neighbors, is any different from Morocco in an historic sense: It is simply not historically consistent for it to belong to Europe.
I know America keeps pushing Europe to accept Turkey. But what would they say if Europe suggested that Mexico become the 51st state of the United States?