ANKARA: Roth: Resolution of Cyprus Question important for Turkey

Anadolu Agency
March 10 2004

Roth: Resolution of Cyprus Question is very important for Turkey

BERLIN – Claudia Roth, the chairwoman of the German government`s
human rights board and the Turkish-German Parliamentary Friendship
Group, has said that resolution of the Cyprus question was very
important for Turkey.

Roth had a meeting on Tuesday in Berlin with Parliamentary Commission
for Adjustment Into European Union (EU) members headed by former
Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis.

Speaking at the meeting, Roth said that end of human rights
violations and removal of regional economic differences were
important for Turkey`s EU membership.

Although it was not among the Copenhagen criteria, resolution of the
Cyprus question was very important and if it was not resolved, Turkey
would have difficulties because those who were against Turkey`s
membership might show it as a pretext, she said.

Noting that she completely supported the German government`s attitude
toward opening of membership negotiations with Turkey in case of
fulfillment of the Copenhagen criteria, Roth said that also German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer believed that Turkey might play a
key role in securing peace and fight against terrorism.

Stressing that as the Green Party, they attributed great importance
especially to human rights, Roth said that she would have meetings in
Ankara, Diyarbakir, Mardin and Istanbul during her one-week visit to
Turkey in May.

Recalling that the Turkish press had harshly criticized her during
some periods, Roth said that criticism did not mean you were always
against something and her party believed in principle of equality
while other parties had concerns whether a Muslim country could
change them. Noting that there had been lobbying efforts in the
German assembly to bring so-called Armenian genocide onto the agenda,
Roth said she could not know how much those efforts would be
effective but Armenian issue might come to the agenda of the

Defending that release of Leyla Zana would be positive for Turkey,
Roth added that Zana was well-known in international area.