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ANKARA: Turkey's EU entry important for Switzerland, says Swiss FM

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  • ANKARA: Turkey's EU entry important for Switzerland, says Swiss FM

    Turkey's EU entry important for Switzerland, says Swiss foreign minister

    Anatolia news agency, Ankara
    31 Mar 05

    Istanbul, 31 March: Foreign Minister of Switzerland Micheline
    Calmy-Rey has said today (Thursday [31 March]) that Turkey's
    membership in the European Union is important for Switzerland. "Just
    as the membership is crucial for Turkey, Turkey's membership in the EU
    is a matter of prominence for Switzerland."

    In a meeting organized by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Istanbul's
    Ciragan Palace, Calmy-Rey gave a speech entitled "Switzerland's status
    in Europe and relations with Turkey". Visiting minister Calmy-Rey
    stated that Switzerland has good ties with all the European
    countries. "We (Switzerland) are known as a neutral country."
    Calmy-Rey indicated that Switzerland continues its relations with the
    EU via mutual agreements and trade partnerships. "Turkey and
    Switzerland have had good relations for decades." Calmy-Rey mentioned
    that Turkey's bid to join the EU is a positive step. "Turkey's
    membership in the EU would contribute to regional stability. EU's
    political and economic standards will attract attention in the
    region. Turkey's journey towards full EU membership is one that the
    Swiss people are watching with admiration." According to Calmy-Rey,
    Turkey's membership in the EU would facilitate survival of different
    cultures and religious backgrounds.

    "EU values support multicultural diversity and standards." Calmy-Rey
    commented that her visit to Turkey should be seen as a symbol that
    Switzerland is sincere about developing ties with Turkey. There are
    over 80,000 Turkish citizens living in Switzerland whose native
    language is Kurdish, remarked Calmy-Rey. "Turkish citizens living in
    Switzerland have been successful in integrating in the Swiss society."
    Touching on the economic ties between Turkey and Switzerland,
    Calmy-Rey stressed that the Turkish market is given more priority
    compared to the Polish, Danish and Finnish markets.

    "Switzerland is the sixth biggest investor in Turkey. Swiss
    corporations employ about 9,000 Turks throughout Turkey. There are
    approximately 304 Swiss companies active in the Turkish market."

    Asked by a journalist about the position of Switzerland on the
    so-called Armenian genocide, Calmy-Rey replied that the stand of the
    Swiss Federal Government is clear. "We believe that each nation must
    handle its own history. As Switzerland, we have to work on the funds
    that were taken away from Switzerland during World War II. As we
    discussed with his excellency Abdullah Gul, we are in favour of
    establishing an international committee of experts to study all
    claims. We believe that the Armenian diaspora should have
    representation in such a committee."