EU Is A Strategic Target For Turkey, Davutoglu

ANKARA - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday that European Union (EU) was a strategic target for Turkey, and qualified the obstacles in front of this target as subjective.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Davutoglu said, "we assessed the EU and Cyprus. Estonia is one of the countries seriously supporting Turkey in EU accession process" and underlined Turkey's determination on EU full membership.

Davutoglu said Turkey would act quickly from now on regarding the reforms in its EU process.

He said Turkey and Estonia supported each other in every area in international matters.

Davutoglu said economic relations were positive, noting that actual 500 million USD trade volume would boost gradually.

Turkish foreign minister underlined importance of air transportation to improve economic relations and tourism.

Davutoglu said cultural relations between Turkey and Estonia were positive, and noted that there were Turkish language departments in two universities in Estonia.

Davutoglu said Istanbul would be Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010 and Estonian capital city would be the Capital of Europe in 2011. "We decided to maintain cooperation on the matter," he said.

"We discussed opportunities to further increase visa facilities. Turkey does not implement visa requirement to Estonia," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said he expressed the uneasiness Turkey felt over some elements reflected in latest EU decisions over Cyprus.

"Turkey's efforts to find a permanent and comprehensive solution in Cyprus will continue," Davutoglu said and expressed gratitude over Estonia's support on the issue.

When asked if there was any connection between Turkey's EU membership target and Cyprus process, "EU membership is Turkey's right. This is the right of Turkey when we fulfill our homework and necessary reforms. It is not a favor of anybody. Similarly, restoring a permanent and fair peace and being after a solution seeking rights of Turkish Cypriot people is also a rightful demand," he emphasized.

"If the UN plan had been accepted in 2004, there would not have been any contradiction today. The plan was not accepted because of the Greek Cypriot party," he said.


Estonian Foreign Minister Paet, replying to a question on Turkey's EU process, said Turkey was a natural partner of the EU.

Paet said there were several criteria which a country had to meet to become a full member of the EU, noting that it would be possible for Turkey to be an EU member when this criteria is fulfilled.

Referring to chapter headings in EU negotiation process, Paet said more chapter headings should be opened with Turkey. He said chapter heading on energy was extremely important, noting that opening of the chapter headings would be in the interest of both parties.

Commenting on the process on Cyprus, Paet said the inhabitants of the island should have the key, adding that international community should only contribute within the framework of the UN.

Paet said Turkey supported NATO membership of Estonia and that Turkey was the first NATO and Mediterranean country supporting Estonia in protection of their air space.

Paet expressed satisfaction over stance of Turkey in removing visa requirement to Estonian citizens in 2008, and noted that they took a similar decision for Turkish citizens having diplomatic and service passports.

Paet said the other visa requirements were within Schengen and needed common decision of the Schengen member countries.

Commenting on Turkey's activities in its region, Paet said he considered steps taken by Turkey to normalise relations particularly with Armenia was very important.

Copyright © 2009