April 8 2010
Israel is main danger on peace in Mideast, region – Turkish PM
Israel is the main danger on peace in the Middle East and the whole
region, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyep Erdogan said in Paris on
Wednesday, Yemeni Saba News Agency reported according to Kuwait News
Erdogan said in a statement to reporters before a lunch hosted by
French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Israel had used excessive force
in Gaza Strip that includes phosphorus bombs that killed about 1,500
people under "unjustified pretexts and lies."
The so-called Judge Richard Goldstone report on Gaza, he said, was
clear in blaming Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
He said that Turkey’s accession negotiations with EU which began in
2005 would continue despite some opposition. He did not elaborate.
Erdogan reiterated that Turkey would not be a burden on the EU but
will help to interlink the West and the Islamic world.
The Turkish Prime Minister began his visit yesterday by attending the
closing ceremony of the "Year of Turkey" in France. Erdogan and
Sarkozy have a full agenda for talks, which will include bilateral,
international and especially security issues.
Erdogan will address the issue of the PKK Kurdish militants and their
presence in France and Europe and he will purportedly be pushing for
faster responses on extradition requests.
Other issues to be discussed include Iran, Iraq, the Middle East peace
process and regional relations, like Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and
Turkey’s demands to adhere to the European Union are a bone of
contention because Sarkozy has made it clear he opposes Turkey joining
For his part, Sarkozy indicated that the EU question will not be at
the heart of the discussions but Turkish sources said that Erdogan
will be bringing it up in Wednesday’s discussions.
Both nations, which had a trade volume of close to USD 14.0 billion in
2009, are also eager to boost trade and France says it hopes to
increase the above figure by 50 percent by 2012.
France is the second-largest foreign investor in Turkey and employs
100,000 people there in 300 companies.
France has become the sixth supplier of goods and services to Turkey
and is the second client for Turkish exports in a trade relationship
that officials here said was ‘balanced.’ New projects are under study
and should be discussed during Erdogan’s visit. They include projects
in the energy, transport and infrastructure sectors.