The French newspaper Le Figaro has speculated that the question of Turkish EU membership has turned into a tactical struggle between French President Jacques Chirac and Interior Minister and leader of the People's Movement Party (UMP), Nicolas Sarkozy. Wide coverage in Le Figaro of a weekend conference sponsored by the UMP highlighted a much softer stance by Sarkozy towards Turkey than had been previously expected.
Le Figaro noted in its coverage that prior to the conference, sources close to UMP leader Sarkozy had warned that he would make sharp statements in opposition to Turkish EU membership. The same article concluded that "in the end, Sarkozy realized it would be to his own advantage not to create a crisis between the UMP and Chirac."
According to the coverage in Le Figaro, Sarkozy's softer than expected message on the Turkey front was carefully crafted in order to "make him look not like someone who was only out for his own interests."