Obama Backs Turkey EU Bid To Sarkozy

In his meeting with President Sarkozy of France, Barack Obama urged the admittance of Turkey into the European Union. “I’ve said publicly that I think Turkish membership of the EU would be important. What the US wants to do is just to encourage talks and discussions where Turkey can feel confident that it has a friendship with France, with the United States, and with all of Europe and to the extent that it defines itself that it has an opportunity to be part of that.” The French president has opposed the entry of Turkey which he fears would alter the composition of Europe due to its large Muslim population. Sarkozy has been pushing a Mediterranean Union which would also include Israel and other nations which border the body of water.

The two leaders differed on the issue of Muslim women wearing a headscarf. Obama made clear that in the United States, “our basic attitude is that we’re not going to tell people what to wear.” Sarkozy argued his nation did not wish the headscarf because of national opposition to any form of religious symbols in schools or government offices. He also raised the question as to whether girls were being forced to wear the headscarf due to parental pressure.

At this point, it is none of America’s business how France deals with the headscarf. The important issue right now is working to assist the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

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