PRAGUE (AFP) - US President Barack Obama threw his backing Sunday behind Turkeys bid to join the European Union before being slapped down by French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy for intervening in the blocs affairs. Obama, who was due to fly to Turkey on Sunday night after attending an EU-US summit here, said that Turkeys membership of the 27-nation bloc would firmly wrap the mainly Muslim nation into the Western fold. The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbours and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence, Obama said in his address to European Union leaders at a summit in Prague before leaving for Turkey. The US President arrived in Turkey Sunday on the last stop of his maiden tour to Europe for a two-day visit aimed at revitalising ties with the long-standing, mainly Muslim ally of Washington. In Ankara, he is scheduled to hold official talks on Monday (today) with the Turkish leaders before he will fly to Istanbul on Tuesday tomorrow to visit a 17th century Ottoman mosque. The US President flew out of Prague Sunday at the end of the summit, heading to Turkey for the final leg of his maiden trip to the continent. He was not being accompanied by his wife Michelle, who returned to the US after leaving Prague earlier in the afternoon, according to the White House. Moving forward towards Turkish membership in the EU would be an important signal of your commitment to this agenda and ensure that we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe, Obama said in his address. However a number of EU countries, most notably France, have been outspoken in their opposition to Turkeys membership of their organisation, worried about the cost of absorbing such a large and relatively poor country. I have been working hand-in-hand with President Obama but when it comes to the European Union its up to member-states of the European Union to decide on membership, Sarkozy told a French television interview from Prague. I have always been opposed to this entry and I remain opposed, he said. Sarkozys comments knocked some of the gloss off the pairs rapport. Obama had praised the French president for his marvellous leadership when he hosted a NATO summit last week. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed Obamas comments and said the goal of Turkish membership remained in place. We have started a process of negotiations with Turkey for membership of the European Union and that was a unanimous decision of the European Union, all the 27 member states, he said at a Press conference at the end of the summit.