ANKARA: Turkish premier says meetings with Romanian leaders “positiv

Turkish premier says meetings with Romanian leaders “positive”

Anatolia news agency, Ankara
21 May 04

Istanbul, 21 May: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
returned to Turkey on Friday [21 May] after completing his formal
visit to Romania.

[Passage omitted].

Noting that he believed the enthusiasm of making business and launching
initiatives had emerged between Turkey and Romania as a result of
meetings that Turkish ministers and businessmen had held with their
Romanian counterparts and their meetings under the Turkish-Romanian
Business Council Meeting, Erdogan said that they had also had the
chance of discussing few problems of 9,000 Turkish investors in
Romania with the Romanian prime minister.

Stating that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Romania had
been 1.8bn US dollars as of the end of 2003, which meant a 50-per-cent
increase when compared to 2002, Erdogan said that their bilateral
trade volume target in 2004 was at least 2.5bn US dollars.

Noting that he had also had positive meetings with the Romanian
president, parliament Speaker and Senate President during his visit,
Erdogan said: “They do have a very positive outlook on Turkey. I saw
that they exert efforts to enhance bilateral relations.”

Stressing that Turkey and Romania, two Black Sea littoral states,
had deep roots in history, Erdogan said that it also let the two
countries get closer to each other in their bilateral relations.

Noting that they had met the worshipping demands of Romanian citizens
in Turkey, Erdogan said, “I hope these steps that we took between
Turkey and Romania would create a partnership where our performances
in political, economic, commercial and cultural fields increase

Stressing that Turkey had supported Romania’s NATO membership since
the beginning, Erdogan said Romania had the chance of joining the
European Union most probably in 2007. Erdogan said that solidarity
between Turkey and Romania would continue also in the EU.

Asked whether he was planning to visit Turkey’s eastern neighbour
Armenia to solve problems, Erdogan said, “actually, we don’t have any
sine qua non about this issue. We said something when we started this
journey, ‘we exist to make friends in the world’. We make politics
with this objective. We have to see the environment and climate while
we are making it. When we don’t see the atmosphere, it gets difficult
to take steps on that direction. We wish that we would see and reach
such an atmosphere. And if we see it, we take necessary steps.”

“However, it is very difficult for us to take such steps as long
as intense Armenian genocide campaigns continue in the world. Our
job becomes easier if they leave it to historians. However, our job
gets difficult with a country that tries to build the future on a
mentality of ‘we can’t leave it historians’. I wish we would also
take such steps there as soon as possible,” he said.

Replying to a question about early general elections in the
[self-declared] Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Erdogan
said that it was not a decision up to the Turkish government.

[Passage omitted].