France’s Marine Le Pen, whose party triumphed in recent European Parliament (EP) elections, has said that the far-right Front National will stand against Turkey’s European Union accession process and that the country’s membership should be vetoed.
Le Pen’s party, garnering 25 percent, was among the Euroskeptic and far-right parties to make big gains in the EP elections, which will have far-reaching effects on European policy in the coming years.
“As a first step, we want the cancellation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] between the US and EU as soon as possible. Secondly, we want the veto of Turkey’s membership [bid] immediately. Our third task is related to French issues,” Le Pen told broadcaster BFM TV on Monday.
The Front National triumphed in elections for the first time in its history, taking as many as 24 seats in the EP, the EU’s only elected institution, which works with the European Commission and 28 governments to debate and pass laws. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the breakthrough by the National Front a political earthquake.
According to observers in Europe, the rise of the Euroskeptic party in France will create an unfavorable atmosphere for Turkey’s EU accession negotiations and adversely affect not only Turkey’s EU bid but also the situation of Muslim immigrants in European capitals.
Le Pen is considered an Islamophobe who promotes anti-Islamic policies. However, Islamophobia is not the only item on her party’s agenda; she is also opposed to the euro.
Before the elections, Le Pen said in an interview that she did not have a problem with Turkey, but that the main problem in France was the “visibility” of Islam. She also said she was against Turkey’s EU membership and could not understand why Turkey was seeking to join a union that everyone wanted to get out of, though she allowed that the EU was not acting fairly toward Ankara.
On Monday, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s European Union affairs minister, said he does not believe that the victory of Le Pen’s party in France will have a negative impact on Turkey’s EU accession process, adding that France’s stance on Turkey’s membership had changed during the tenure of President François Hollande.
Hollande was elected president in May 2012, defeating his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who remained a steadfast opponent of Turkish membership in the EU during his term in office. Hollande, on the other hand, has softened the French stance, lifting Paris’ objection to the opening of talks on one of the five blocked chapters and thus paving the way for the resumption of the accession talks.