Turkish president reminds EU of Norway example

"The world does not stop at the European Union," Gul said.

Turkish president reminds EU of Norway example

Turkey's president said on Thursday that the European Union (EU) membership was Turkey's strategic preference but it was not all about the EU.

"Our candidacy is a strategic choice and the EU unanimously made a commitment five years ago," President Abdullah Gul told Le Figaro during his visit to Strasbourg.

Gul delivered a speech at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

President Gul said it was an obvious fact that the EU was putting obstacles before Turkey, but Turkey's strategic preference was not preventing it from boosting its relations with the rest of the world. "the world does not stop at the European Union," Gul said.

Gul said Turkey would not become an EU member the following day, and if negotiations were accomplished, countries like France would hold a referendum.

"If peoples of (EU member) countries say 'no', we will respect their decision," Gul said.

Gul called on EU member states to be honest and inform their citizens well about Turkey's potential.

"Turkey is the sixth biggest economy in Europe and it is situated in a region where energy lines intersect and it contributes to Europe's security," Gul said.

Gul said when the time came, Turkish people might not be willing to join the EU like Norway did, but majority of Turkish people were supporting EU membership.

Referring to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Turkey on February 25, Gul said Sarkozy would not pay a formal visit but a working visit as the head of the rotating presidency of the G-20.

Gul said his visit would help Sarkozy see the real Turkey, and Sarkozy and he would debate issues about which they were thinking differently.

"What is important is friendly relations between the two nations," he said.

Moreover, Gul told Le Figaro that Turkey was trying to spread stability in its region, but wanted nothing in return and did not have a secret agenda.

"The geography we are living in urges us to help spread stability and prosperity in our region," he said.

Gul referred to last week's meeting between Iran and P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France
plus Germany) countries in Istanbul, and said door was still open for a solution.

President Gul reiterated that Turkey was against all types of nuclear weapons in its region, and wished the problem be solved through diplomatic means.

Gul said "Mavi Marmara" fleet was the advocator of fundamental human rights and particularly the goals and rights backed by the EU, when responding to a question on the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turks.



Agencies

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2011, 15:06
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