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06 12 02-Ankara Determined to Press Ahead
INTERNATIONAL 12.01.2006 Friday - ISTANBUL 23:24
by Suleyman Kurt, Ankara- ( from A.M. -USA )
Friday, December 01, 2006

Turkey said it was determine to press ahead with its European Union bid, a day after the European Commission recommended partial suspension of EU accession talks.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said the European Union had made a rash decision. He also expressed there was no problem with their EU bid and Turkey would continue on its way.

“We will continue for our people’s benefit,” Tan said.

Ankara will hold lobbying efforts to “express its rightness” until the summit of leaders on Dec.14-15 and push for a more positive result.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul communicated Ankara’s attitude in the talks with their counterparts in the NATO summit.

Prior to the commission’s recommendation, Ankara had anticipated the negotiations would be suspended in a few chapters directly related to the Customs Union.

However, the chapters titled “agriculture”, “fisheries” and “right of establishment and freedom to provide services” are not directly associated with Turkey’s refusal to open its ports to the Greek Cypriot Administration in Ankara.

The recommendation to suspend 24 chapters in the “supplementary protocol” was another unexpected development for Turkey.

Ankara Responds 24 hours before the decision

Commenting on the Commission’s recommendation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tan said “There are various apparent and unapparent reasons. They took the decision by highlighting apparent reasons. It is obvious that this is not in agreement with the EU’s transparency principle. We will continue this process for the benefit of our people.”

Tan insisted the decision did not amount to a freeze, but to a slowdown in negotiations.

“It was a rash decision,” he said. “Diplomacy was not given a chance.”

Reportedly, Foreign Minister Gul had communicated his reaction to Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn in a telephone conversation before the recommendation had been announced.

Gul reiterated that the Cyprus issue and the EU negotiations should be considered separately.


Ankara hosts guests

Ankara will have a busy diplomacy traffic to modify the recommendation until the Dec. 14-15 meeting.

Prime Minister Erdogan will host his Finnish counterpart Vanhanen in Ankara today.

Foreign Minister Gul will meet with EU member states’ ambassadors to Turkey.

Turkish authorities will point to isolations against Northern Cyprus and remind the EU’s promises in this frame.

Erdogan and Gul will once again show Turkey is determined not to open ports unless isolations against Turkish Cypriots are removed and press for the United Nations to solve the Cyprus problem.

Finnish Prime Minister Vanhanen, in a statement before his visit, said Turkey “has to implement the additional protocol.”
Ankara will host Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt next week


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