Sarkozy To Visit Turkey Feb. 25
According to the Turkish foreign ministry, the visit is expected to develop bilateral relations.
"Turkey and France...as two NATO Allies and G-20 members, share the same basic values and ideas and have converging approaches on international and regional issues of common concern," said a Turkish foreign ministry statement.
France holds the current G-20 presidency, and "G-20 issues will be covered compreshensively during the discussions as well as...Turkey's EU access process."
Turkey's EU membership progress has slowed down over the Cyprus issue, as it refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus and open its ports to Cypriot-flagged vessels. Eight negotiation chapters have consequently been frozen by the EU until Turkey recognises Cyprus and implements free trade with the island.
In the past, France and Germany have both expressed doubt over Turkey's ultimate full membership in the EU. During a visit to Cyprus in January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised Turkey for not responding adequately to the Cyprus government's willingness to compromise in reunification talks. Her comments were not well received in Turkey, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hitting back at Merkel, saying it was clear that she "did not know the history of the Cyprus problem."
It has been 19 years since the last French president visited Turkey.