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Deciphering France’s Mediterranean and Foreign Policy against Turkey

France’s Mediterranean policy can be analyzed from a historical perspective and through the actual conjuncture related to its geopolitical and geo-cultural elements, such as the West-East civilization dilemma and colonization background. Although these two elements are complementary to each other, they intersect with the political and economic interests of the Turkish state in the region. France’s policy has become intertwined with its involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean dispute against Turkey as a result of the natural gas discovery in recent years in the region. France’s identification of Turkey as an ‘external enemy’ reflects the former’s political and economic concerns in regard to the Mediterranean gas reserves. Therefore, the envisaged French leadership in the region insists that the EU adopt an exclusionary political approach toward Turkey with the political and diplomatic support of France for Greece and Cyprus. The existing regional problems, however, need to be resolved on the basis of equity, not by ignoring the rights of the parties, but by integrating them. This is necessary for the peaceful resolution of these concerns.

Deciphering France s Mediterranean and Foreign Policy against Turkey
Demonstration march in front of the Gare du Nord, in Paris to protest against Islamophobia, on November 10, 2019. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP via Getty Images
 

 

 

Introduction

 

France’s Mediterranean policy can be analyzed from a historical perspective and through the actual conjuncture related to its geopolitical and geo-cultural elements, such as the West-East civilizational dilemma and colonization background. Although these two elements are complementary to each other, they intersect with the political and economic interests of the Turkish state in the region. Historically, Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III consolidated the French presence in Africa and the Middle East. This was important to constitute a francophone world in these regions and protect the political and economic interests of France. It was a common strategy for the colonialist powers of the 19th century.

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