ANKARA: Turkish President Sezer Meets With French President Chirac

Anadolu Agency
June 28 2004

Turkish President Sezer Meets With French President Chirac

ISTANBUL – Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer met on Monday with
French President Jacques Chirac, who is currently in Istanbul for the
NATO Summit.

Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier also attended the meeting.

Following the meeting, President Sezer’s Foreign Policy Chief Adviser
Sermet Atacanli told reporters that Sezer focused on Turkey’s
European Union (EU) membership in his meeting with Chirac.

Atacanli said that Sezer explained once again that Turkey expected
France, which was one of leading countries in the EU, to support
Turkey’s EU membership.

Atacanli quoted Sezer as saying that Turkey fulfilled all political
criteria of EU, noting that Turkey expected to be treated as other
countries which fulfilled those criteria.

Stating that Sezer said in the meeting that he expected the report on
Turkey that would be announced by EU Commission in October to be
positive, Atacanli quoted President Sezer as saying that EU should
set a date for Turkey in December to start its membership
negotiations with the Union.

Noting that Sezer also focused on Cyprus issue in his meeting with
Chirac, Atacanli quoted Sezer as saying that new developments took
place after referenda held in Cyprus on April 24 and Turkish Cypriot
side showed its determination for solution in referendum. Atacanli
said that Sezer noted in the meeting that Greek Cypriot side did not
put forth good will on that issue.

Atacanli stated that Sezer stressed that embargoes imposed on Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be lifted immediately.

When asked what were the views of Chirac about Cyprus issue, Atacanli
said, ”both Chirac and French Foreign Minister, who also attended
the meeting, said that they are aware of developments in Cyprus and
welcomed the attitude of Turkish side and they noted this. Mr. Chirac
said regarding the EU issue, ‘you know my stance about EU issue. And
you also know that my stance is positive.’ Mr. Chirac said that
Turkey has started its EU trip 40 years ago and the EU has a 40 year
of commitment and this commitment concerns a vision related with the
future of Europe.”

Atacanli said that Chirac also noted that the commission report which
would be presented in October was important.

When asked whether Armenian problem was brought onto agenda during
the meeting, Atacanli said that President Sezer stressed Turkey’s
sensitivity over the so-called Armenian genocide which is
occasionally brought onto agenda of French Parliament.

Atacanli said that Sezer earlier invited Chirac to Turkey and he
repeated this invitation during the meeting. Atacanli added that this
invitation was accepted and the date would be cleared later.