Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Prague supports Turkey's EU bid, Czech PM told Erdogan

ČTK |
5 February 2013

Prague, Feb 4 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan he supports Turkey's fully-fledged EU membership provided the country successfully fulfils the accession conditions, during their talks in Prague Monday.

Erdogan, who arrived in Prague after more than five years, said Turkey has been standing "outside the EU gates" for more than 50 years and that the delaying of its admission is inexcusable.

He said he hopes Turkey's effort at admission will also be supported by EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele of the Czech Republic.

Erdogan said Turkey knows that many conditions must be fulfilled before admission, but added that not even EU member states often meet all criteria.

Erdogan mentioned the reforms his country has carried out in the financial field, among others.

Turkey's problems include human rights non-observance, problems with media freedom and the Cyprus issue. Turks do not recognise the Greek part of the island.

Some in the EU believe that Turkey, a Muslim but secular country, should rather be offered a privileged partnership.

This idea is supported by Austria, France, Germany and other countries while proponents of Turkey's EU membership include besides the Czech Republic also Britain, Poland, Sweden and other countries.

Turkey applied for EU association in 1959 and it signed the associate agreement four years later.

Erdogan said Monday even without Turkey's EU membership, the two sides are closely intertwined because some five million Turks live on EU territory.

Necas and Erdogan also discussed business, investments and energy industry. There is a big cooperation potential particularly in the field of energy industry, including nuclear.

The Czech Republic and Turkey are to sign a memorandum of strategic energy partnership soon.

Czech Industry Minister Martin Kuba and Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan signed in the presence of journalists a protocol after a meeting of the two countries' mixed economic commission.

Necas and Erdogan signed a declaration on the basis of which a Turkish culture centre will be opened in Prague.

Turkey, for its turn, is interested in a Czech culture centre in Istanbul or Ankara.

The Czech Republic and Turkey are both NATO members. Last week a mission of four Czech military specialists officially started a mission to Turkey and reinforced the NATO anti-aircraft defence on the turbulent Turkish-Syrian border.

The signallers, in charge of securing data transmission, should stay in Turkey for minimally three to four months.

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