Patriarch Of Armenians In Turkey Seeks Support For Turkey's E.U. Bid

Anatolian Times, Turkey
Dec 24 2006

ISTANBUL - The patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey sought support for
the country's European Union aspirations in separate letters he sent
to the EU leaders, a bulletin of the patriarchate has said. Mesrob
II, the Patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey, urged "maximum effort"
to overcome "a critical period" laying ahead before country's EU bid.

EU foreign ministers agreed last Monday to partially freeze Turkey's
entry talks with the Union in response to Ankara's refusal to open
up to trade with Greek Cypriot administration.

EU leaders were expected to endorse that decision during a December
14-15 summit.

"EU leaders will make a critical decision in Turkey-EU relations,
which will have broad consequences," Mesrob II said in his letter.
"My concern about this decision is that current unsolved problems
could jeopardize the country's membership process and Turkey-EU
relations in general," he noted.

The patriarch praised country's commitment to the EU membership which
he saw as "strengthened" by political and economic reforms.

"These reforms have improved the basic rights of Turkish citizens
including religious minorities," he added. "This positive process
will of course continue," Mesrob II said.

Mesrob II also urged EU leaders not to derail membership negotiations
by imposing "unilateral" conditions before the country, "without
taking into account Turkey's other commitments."

"Your leadership is of utmost importance in preventing the European
Council from taking a negative decision," he said. "I hope that your
strategic vision would mediate putting the process back on track."