Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Turkey Back to EU Agenda

Ankara took action before the EU Progress Report to be published on Nov. 8 and a possible Cyprus crisis.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told European leaders about Turkey’s stance while the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) accelerated its lobbying activities.

On the first anniversary of starting full membership negotiations, Turkey focused on the agenda of the European Union.

Contacts increased between Ankara and Brussels before the EU Progress Report scheduled for release on Nov. 8, and a possible Cyprus crisis, while the government and non-governmental organizations increased their efforts to influence European perceptions.

Within the context of its foreign promotional activities, TUSIAD organized Turkish Week in three European capitals. Activities, which began in Brussels yesterday, will be followed by those in Paris today and in Berlin tomorrow.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener, State Minister in Charge of Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen and Minister of Justice Cemil Cicek will also join the meetings.
Prime Minister Erdogan and Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan discussed Turkey’s membership process and the possible Cyprus crisis with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.
In accordance with Erdogan’s instructions, Babacan will spend the next few months in EU capitals.

Turkish Parliament increased efforts to make the ninth Adaptation Package
Turkey wants the Progress Report, important for the EU leaders’ summit in December, to come out positive and that negotiations not be suspended because of Cyprus.

However, polemics on army-civilian relationships on Article 301 have had negative repercussions in Europe.

The visits of the EU wing giving subsequent warnings concerning these issues have become more frequent.

European Commissioner of Enlargement, Olli Rehn, is having meetings in Ankara for the evaluation of the first year of negotiations, and to communicate expectations before the summit in December.

Rehn is expected to discuss issues with Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minester Gul today.

On the same day Rehn leaves Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Turkey to discuss EU issues.

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