French President Nicolas Sarkozy has held firm in his opposition to Turkey joining the European Union, and proposed the Muslim-majority nation become a privileged partner of the bloc instead.
Mr. Sarkozy made the offer Friday during a brief visit to Ankara, which was not welcomed by the Turkish leadership.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul responded that he expects all EU stakeholders to contribute to his country’s accession process.
Ankara has said it wants full membership and is not interested in accepting the status of special partner.
Turkey began its accession negotiations in October 2005. Talks stalled over the issue of the Greek-Turkish divided island of Cyprus, then hit another roadblock when Mr. Sarkozy became president of France in 2007.