https://ahvalnews.com-Valerie Pecresse, a right-wing candidate running in France’s upcoming presidential election said that she would end Turkey’s bid to join the European Union if elected. The candidate made this promise in an interview with the Greek daily Ekathimerini on Monday.
“I am unimpressed by the intimidation of the Turkish government. I will oppose Turkey’s accession to the EU, the process of which has only been suspended,” said Percresse, the candidate for the right-wing Les Republicans.
Pecresse, who is trailing in the polls behind incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, said that any “pre-accession assistance” provided to Turkey should be called into doubt. As president, Pecresse said that she would position France at the “forefront of the fight against Islamism and the protection of women’s rights.”
France and Turkey have maintained strained relations since the election of Macron in May 2017. While initially cordial, ties worsened after Macron began to criticise what he perceived as a militant Islamism that threatened to undermine French secularism.
On foreign policy, France and Turkey clashed in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Libya where they each backed separate sides. Under Macron, relations deepened with Turkey’s rivals like Greece and the United Arab Emirates through their shared distrust of Turkish ambitions and aggression.
In turn, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Macron repeatedly in recent years. After the gruesome murder of French school teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamic extremist in October 2020, Erdoğan called for a boycott of French goods by Muslim countries after Macron declared it his intent to battle radical Islamism in defence of secularism. Relations grew so poor that Erdoğan at one point openly said he hoped Macron would not be re-elected in 2022.
Relations soon began to stabilise by 2021. After Erdoğan declared a desire to mend fences with the European Union amidst a declining economy and increasing isolation, he met with Macron in June 2021 on the sidelines of a NATO summit where they discussed ways to de-escalate tensions. Since then, few major flare-ups have emerged between France and Turkey.