ANKARA: Erdogan: Aegean Sea Should Be Made A Sea Of Peace

Anadolu Agency
May 7 2004

Erdogan: Aegean Sea Should Be Made A Sea Of Peace

ATHENS – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that
problems regarding Aegean Sea should be solved one by one and Aegean
Sea should be made a sea of peace.

Sources noted on Friday that Greek Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis
said that there should be political will, good will and mutual will
for further development of relations between the two countries in the
meeting between delegations under the chairmanship of Erdogan and

Stating that the two countries should move with firm steps in
economy, tourism, trade sectors and joint investments, Caramanlis
added that it would be a good model for the region.

Caramanlis said that they considered Turkey’s European Union (EU)
membership an issue which had strategic importance for Greece and
that’s why they supported Turkey’s accession to the EU. He noted that
they would continue to support Turkey on its path to EU and stated
that they were watching steps that Turkey took and reforms that the
country fulfilled for its EU membership with appreciation. Stating
that implementation of those reforms was also very important,
Caramanlis said that those reforms would be put into practice under
the leadership of Erdogan.

Caramanlis added that he expected Greek Cypriot side not to cause any
difficulties in Turkey’s EU membership.

Erdogan said that he was the first Turkish prime minister to visit
Greece after 16 years.

Recalling that he earlier visited Greece twice prior to Copenhagen
Summit in 2002 and after quake in Greece, he stated that those visits
would make great contribution to relations between the two countries.

Stating that dialogue process which started between the two countries
continued, Erdogan said that they attached great importance to
committees which were set up within this scope.

Erdogan said that problems regarding the Aegean Sea should be solved
one by one and stressed that Aegean Sea should be made a sea of

Noting that total trade volume between the two countries amounted 1
billion 325 million U.S. dollars, he said that further improvement of
trade volume would contribute to solution of political problems of
the two countries.

Erdogan underlined that the two countries should launch joint
initiatives for the third countries.

Erdogan stated that Turkey also was ready to make contribution to
Olympic Games that Greece would host this year.

The number of border gates between the two countries should be
increased, he stated. Noting that Turkish and Greek contractors could
make business in the Middle East, Balkans, Central Asia and Caucasia,
Erdogan said that visa problem that Turkish tourists and
entrepreneurs faced when they entered Greece should be solved.
Caramanlis said that problems on this issue stemmed from Schengen
visa and stated that talks on this issue continued with EU.

Erdogan expressed his uneasiness about a Greek minister’s speech in a
meeting on April 25, 2004 in which so-called Armenian genocide
allegations were mentioned.

Stating that people should leave such issues to historians, Erdogan
said that this issue should not be used as a political tool. Erdogan
said that Turkey took a step on this issue and started to exclude
expressions which might harm relations with its neighbors from school
books and added that he expected Turkey’s neighbor countries to
assume a similar attitude.

Erdogan said that protocol on illegal migration between Turkey and
Greece was implemented wrongly and wanted Greek officials for border
to be warned on this issue.

Erdogan said that Turkey took steps for peace and a progress was
recorded with Syria on this issue and added that Israel’s latest
actions made difficult Turkey’s initiatives on this issue.