ANKARA: Turkish PM, French Speaker Discuss Turkey’s EU Membership

Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey
Feb 4 2005

Turkish Prime Minister and French Assembly Speaker Discuss Turkey’s
EU Membership

Jan SOYKOK, ANKARA (JTW and News Agencies) – President of the French
National Assembly Jean Louis Debre met Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip
Erdogan yesterday.

Louis Debre asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about
implementation of reforms which Turkey fulfilled in the EU process.
Debre also asked improvement in Cyprus issue and relations with

Turkish PM Erdogan told Debre that France and Turkey share common
values like democracy, freedom, human rights and supremacy of law.
Noting that Turkey tries to effectively implement the reforms it made
in the EU process, Erdogan said Turkey’s EU membership will further
improve the political and economic relations between Turkey and

Tayyip Erdogan said Armenian allegations should be left to
historians. “If their historians have claims, our historians have
claims too. They shall study Ottoman archives” added Erdogan.

Erdogan further said Turkey does not have any problems with its
Armenian citizens’.

“We opened our archives and we provide any assistance to Armenian
historians and scientist who wish to study Ottoman documents.
Armenians should also open their archives,” he added.

Dr. Laciner: `France Should Not Sacrifice For Armenian Radicals’

There is a strong Armenian diaspora lobbying in France and the
Armenian allegations is a domestic issue in France. However Dr. Sedat
Laciner argues French politicians should not sacrifice Turkish-French
relations for their domestic political interests. Dr. Laciner further

`As a matter of fact that neither French politicians nor the Armenian
Diaspora radicals see Armenia’s national interests as their priority.
Armenia’s and Diaspora’s interests are not the same. As Dr. Nilgun
Gulcan pointed out Armenia and Diaspora has contrary interests.
Diaspora needs more dispute between Turks and Armenians, because many
Diaspora Armenian enjoy from the `genocide industry’. If Turkey and
Armenia solve their problem they could not abuse the past for their
individual interests. Many diaspora institutions are dependent on
`genocide donations’. Many Armenian actors, businessmen, politician
etc. in Northern America and Europe see Turkish-Armenian problems as
source of power. When the both side put an end to the historical
misunderstandings many militants will lose their financial and
political power over the ordinary Armenians in diaspora. Similarly
some of the Diaspora institutions argue that the 1915 Legacy is the
most important thing uniting Armenians. According to this approach,
Diaspora Armenians need a uniting cause in order to resist
assimilation. Otherwise, they think, Armenian identity would be
diminished in front of the strong Western cultures.

However Armenian state needs Turkey and other Turkic peoples. Armenia
is surrounded by more than 100 million Turkish people (Turkey,
Azerbaijan and Iran Azerbaijan). Georgia is an ally of Turkey and has
good relations with the Western states though Armenia stayed the only
Russian ally in the region. Armenia is a relatively small and poor
country, it is land-locked. If Armenia can solve its problems with
Turkey the life would be easier for the Armenians. In my opinion
Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan could establish an economic
regional integration in Caucasus. Turkey could be a European door for
the Armenian businessmen and people. Turkish universities can open
their doors to Armenian youth. Armenia cannot survive in a hostile
region. So-called Russian support or relations with Iran cannot
substitute relations with Turkey. A strong Turkish-Armenian regional
ally would change a lot in the region. If Turkey and Armenia can
establish a strong friendship foreign direct investment would jump,
security problems down, and the region would become a trade centre
for the Central Asia, Black Sea and the Middle East’.