ANKARA: Erdogan: December 17 To Be A Test For Europe

Anadolu Agency
Oct 21 2004

Erdogan: December 17 To Be A Test For Europe

PARIS – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that
”Turkey has done its homework in fulfilling the Copenhagen Criteria
and that December 17th will be a test for Europe.” ”The European
Union must pass the test successfully,” remarked Erdogan.

In a press conference in the OECD building in Paris Erdogan told
reporters that ”Turkey has been waiting for the past 50 years to
become a member of the European Union.” ”We expect the accession
talks to begin in December” added Erdogan.

At the OECD meeting, Erdogan praised the Italian Prime Minister
Berlusconi for reminding Italian politicians not to make the
membership issue of Turkey a matter of local politics. ”The topic of
Turkey’s membership should not be a matter of discussion at the local
level in France either,” Erdogan remarked.

Referring to a possible full membership of Turkey in the EU, Erdogan
said that ”Turkey has strong economic and political ties with the
Middle Eastern countries.” ”As a full EU member, Turkey will
contribute to the modernization of the Middle East as well,” added

According to PM Erdogan, Turkey is ”one of the countries that is
trying to help the Iraqi people by providing medicine and food.”
”While trying to help the people of Iraq, we have witnessed attacks
on Turks in Iraq that resulted in deaths of 50 Turkish citizens,”
reminded Erdogan.

”Aside from Iraq, we want to help resolve the dispute between Israel
and Palestine,” he also said.


Responding to a question on whether the issue of religion will be a
factor in EU’s decision, Erdogan reiterated that in talks with his
friends, he has been informed that the European Union is not a
Christian club. ”I do not want to say that the issue of religion
will be a factor against Turkey’s membership,” he said.

Replying a question on the alleged Armenian genocide, the Prime
Minister Erdogan stated that those who talk about a so-called
genocide have not properly studied Ottoman and Turkish archives. ”We
urge them to carefully study those archives,” he said. ”As a
friendly gesture, we have opened our air-space to Armenian commercial
jets,” noted Erdogan. ”We do not want to make enemies. We are
striving to establish good contacts and relations across the world,”
told Erdogan.

The Prime Minister Erdogan has described the newly announced OECD
report as a document that confirms Turkey’s recent economic
achievements. ”We highly value the OECD report and know that it will
shed a ‘light’ on future projects of Turkey,” declared Erdogan.
(ULG) 21.10.2004