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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-28

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Turkey under constant observation, Karamanlis stresses

  • [01] Turkey under constant observation, Karamanlis stresses

    Turkey's European prospects depend on genuinely embracing reforms that will make it a European country and not just "on paper", Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed in an interview with the German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" published on Thursday.

    Answering questions put to him by the newspaper's Athens correspondent Michael Martens, he denied that the EU had essentially rewarded Turkey for not fulfilling its obligations through the compromise reached in December over Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to ships and planes from Cyprus.

    Karamanlis pointed out that Turkey was under constant observation and that, in addition to the decision to stall eight of the 35 chapters in its accession negotiations, it would also be subject to a regular review of its progress.

    The Greek premier underlined, meanwhile, that the European Union must speak clearly to Turkey, while reiterating that a European Turkey was in everyone's interests.

    "Turkey has undertaken obligations toward the EU. If it fulfills these, then at the end there must be nothing else apart from its full accession," he said, noting that this was a question of the EU's reliability.

    Karamanlis emphasised, however, that Turkey had so far failed to adequately fulfill these obligations and that pace of reforms had to be accelerated.

    On other questions, the Greek prime minister outlined his objection to proposals within Europe for a more "a-la-carte" relationship between the EU and Turkey, that would not involve the country having to adopt reforms "alien" to its culture.

    "To talk about reforms that are alien to a country would only stand if these were unusual duties. But this is not such a case. We are talking about fundamental issues, about democratic reforms. Turkey must be democraticised," Karamanlis said.

    According to the Greek premier, this was necessary even if the EU and Turkey were only aiming for a partnership relationship, since the EU could only enter into such a relationship with a country where the military had no special role, where individual rights and freedoms were protected and which abjured the use of force in its relations with neighbouring countries.

    "These are fundamental rules that must be observed by any country that seeks a special relationship with the EU - whatever form this cooperation takes," he added.

    He also referred to the referendum for the Annan plan held on Cyprus, pointing out that Greeks and Greek-Cypriots were aware that a solution to the Cyprus issue would contain elements of compromise.

    "At the same time, we must never forget that the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation and that the solution proposed by the United Nations called for the long-term presence of military forces on the island," he added.

    He stressed that Athens worked closely with every Cypriot government, noting that this was a form of "national obligation", and that no side had ever though of imposing its will on the other.

    "The Cypriot people outlined their will with clarity and a great majority," he added.

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