22 November, 2006
Greece supports Turkey's European orientation but on condition the neighboring country adopts European principles and values and fully implements all criteria and prerequisites set by the EU and honors its commitments, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.
The two premiers discussed Turkey's European prospects, developments in the Middle East, Balkan issues and bilateral relations between the two countries.
"We support (Turkey's) its European orientation on condition, of course, that it will adopt European values and principles, it will fully implement all criteria and prerequisites set by the European Union and will honor its commitments," the Greek prime minister said.
Replying to a question on the way with which the EU should react since Turkey, according to statements made on Tuesday by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that Turkey does not accept the EU Presidency's December 6 deadline for the implementation of the Ankara Protocol, the British prime minister said "it would not be logical on my part to say what will happen at the summit."
Blair stressed that discussions will be taking place in coming weeks so that "we can go ahead", adding that "Great Britain and Greece share the strategic vision of Turkey's European accession. It is important for the EU and for the stability of the entire region."
The British prime minister further said that the terms and preconditions of the EU must be applied, pointing out that a solution must be found for the existing problems.
"We must create a different atmosphere and a different climate in these negotiations and controversial issues be resolved so that Turkey can also move ahead and the terms of the EU can be implemented," he said.
Both sides have an identical view of Turkey's European orientation since they prefer a European Turkey and not a Turkey outside Europe. The Greek side, however, stresses that Turkey must fulfill its commitments and there should be strict control.
Replying to the same question, Karamanlis noted that "on the one hand we support Turkey's European orientation and on the other Turkey has commitments to fulfill and we shall see what will happen. The exact reaction of the EU is a matter of cooperation and common understanding with all the European partners."
The British prime minister referred in his statements to close cooperation between Greece and Great Britain at all levels, as well as in the economic sector.
The prime minister noted that productive cooperation exists that covers many sectors and added that "I am convinced that there is a big margin for it to develop even more."
Extensive reference was made during the talks to economic cooperation that is deepening even more in the sectors of shipping and tourism.
The issue of Cyprus was also discussed, for which Karamanlis said "we fully support the resumption of the negotiating process, which we believe must take place at the appropriate time and be carefully prepared."
On the question of the situation prevailing in southeastern Europe, Karamanlis reiterated Greece's support for the European orientation of the countries in the region on condition that they fulfill the criteria and prerequisites of the EU, underlining that "for Greece, stability, security, prosperity and relations of good neighborliness in this region, which is our immediate neighborhood, constitute a strategic goal."
The talks attended on the part of Greece by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, also focused on issues concerning the EU, such as the European constitution in the direction of undertaking initiatives so that the average European citizen will not feel disappointed.
Source: Athens News Agency