Turkey Reaffirms Aim of Full EU Membership

ANKARA (AFP)–Turkey reaffirmed its aim Tuesday to gain full membership of the European Union, the day after France urged Ankara to pursue reforms that would give it "privileged partnership" with the bloc.
"Turkey’s objective in the case of the European Union negotiations is full and total membership," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"This aim was set by joint European Council decisions at Helsinki in 1999, Copenhagen in 2002 and Brussels in 2004. The negotiations are continuing with this objective in mind."
Turkey began its often-troubled EU membership talks in October 2005. The process will take at least a decade and Ankara has been given no guarantee that it will even be allowed to join at the end of it all.
The election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy was a blow to the process as he is firmly opposed to the country’s entry into the EU.
In its reaction to Turkey’s legislative elections Sunday, Paris urged Ankara to continue its reforms to enable it to form a "privileged partnership" with the European Union.
"These elections come at an important time for Turkey, which is taking the political, economic and social reforms necessary to modernise the country," said a spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Denis Simonneau.
"It is clearly very important that these reforms are continued with a view to reaching the privileged partnership that we want with this country."
Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at Armenia’s Academy of Sciences Dr Ruben Safrastyan said Tuesday that the election in Turkey could result in heightened anti-Christian and anti-Armenian sentimen’s in Turkey and within the government.
The Armenian expert did not rile out that the new government, under pressure from the military and the radical Grey Wolves will decide to settle the Kurdish issue by use of force. Incursions into Northern Iraq are also not excluded either. As for the Armenian-Turkish relations, no changes should be expected.
“The ruling AK Party has cemented its positions. The outcome of the parliamentary elections demonstrated strong support of the people. The economic status and the population’s well-being have improved,” Safrastyan said.
“The 14 percent of the votes received by the Nationalist Movement Party indicate that pan-Turkic and nationalist tendencies have gained strength in Turkey, especially after the slaying of Agos editor Hrant Dink. Consequently, anti-Christian and anti-Armenian sentimen’s may increase and this might be reflected on the state’s foreign policy,” said Safrastyan.

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