This study examines the construction of Turkey's possible membership of the European Union (EU) in French political discourse, after the Helsinki European Council of 1999. The primary objective of the article is to investigate which discursive strategies and which linguistic structures have been instrumental in this construction. Five analytical categories were investigated in this study; namely, the argumentation strategies, referential/ nomination strategies, predication strategies, as well as perspectivation and mitigation strategies. In each of these discursive strategies special attention is paid to linguistic tools, lexicalizations and rhetorical devices. The analysis shows that the core semantic strategy in the French political discourse on Turkey's possible EU membership is the construction of in- and outgroups, which is accomplished through a highly rhetorical language. Through these constructions French speakers are involved in an ongoing process of identity formation.