Friday, May 16 2008 @ 03:52 PM MSD
|Speaking at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubb in Helsinki, Babacan said that relations between Turkey and Finland were "excellent". |
Turkey`s Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan said Monday Finland strongly supports Turkey`s EU process.
"Turkey and Finland share same values as democracy, rule of law, basic rights and freedoms. The two countries display similar attitudes on regional and international issues," Babacan said.
"The issue of Cyprus came up during my talks with Stubb. The topic of Cyprus will be one of the most important topics in 2008 and Turkey wishes to see a comprehensive solution in the island," Babacan said. Finnish Foreign Minister Stubb said that Babacan and he had fruitful discussions. "Turkey and Finland are strategic partners and have excellent economic relations," Stubb said.
"Turkey`s negotiations process with the EU will continue. The continuation of reforms in Turkey is highly important," Stubb said. "The goal of negotiations with Turkey is to make Turkey a full EU member. The negotiations process will be a long one. I believe Turkey will become a member at the end of negotiations," Stubb stressed.
Reminded that there was no date set up for Turkey`s full membership in the EU and that the reforms to be made will be based on Turkey`s own calendar, Babacan noted that "Turkey is responsible for its own reforms calendar. When the right time comes, it would be important for the EU to be ready for Turkey rather than vice versa". In response to a question on the Turkish military operation in north of Iraq, Babacan said that the problem is not one between Turkey and Iraq. "The problem has to do with the terrorist organization in north of Iraq," Babacan stressed.
"Turkey`s target is the terrorist organization PKK and not the people of Iraq. No civilian was hurt during Turkey`s military operations in north of Iraq," Babacan said. "Military operations will continue until terrorist organization PKK is completely eradicated from the region," Babacan noted.
In regard to a question on Cyprus, Babacan said that "there is a new chance and opportunity for a solution in Cyprus. However, since there is a great amount of problems in Cyprus, expectations for a solution should not be too high". "The process in Cyprus should continue within the framework of the United Nations," Babacan also said.