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ANKARA: Turkish FM denies rift with EU over Customs Union protocol

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  • ANKARA: Turkish FM denies rift with EU over Customs Union protocol

    Turkish foreign minister denies rift with EU over Customs Union protocol

    Anatolia news agency
    31 Mar 05

    Ankara, 31 March: Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
    Abdullah Gul said on Thursday [31 March] that there is no difference
    of opinion between Turkey and the European Union on the subject of
    Customs Union Additional Protocol. "The problem arose due to the
    improper translation of diplomatic terms and words in the media."

    Minister Gul held a press conference with the visiting Foreign
    Minister of Congo Rodolphe Adada.

    Asked by a journalist if there is a difference of opinion between
    Turkey and the EU on whether the Turkish sea and airports would be
    included in the Customs Union Additional Protocol or not, Gul replied
    that there is no such disagreement. "If one looks at the statements
    issued by EU officials, the absence of a disagreement would be clearly

    In response to a question if there is any connection between US
    demands to utilize the Incirlik [southern Turkey] air base and the
    possibility of a new resolution at the US Congress on the so-called
    Armenian genocide, Gul answered that these topics have no direct
    relationship. "I have elaborated on Incirlik in the recent
    past. Certain demands for cooperation do exist. Yet these are not well
    portrayed in the media. We are currently thinking on this topic and
    will evaluate the matter.

    "The Armenian issue is a totally separate issue. This is not the way
    allies discuss issues. The topic of Armenians is known very well by
    former US Governments and that of President Bush. We are very hopeful
    that when the right time arrives the American Administration will
    demonstrate the essential sensitivity. Therefore, it would be
    incorrect to say that such topics are a matter of bargaining. Our
    government is working carefully on certain technical subjects and the
    issue will come to a conclusion soon."

    Meanwhile, Gul expressed happiness over seeing the Foreign Minister of
    Congo Adada in Ankara.

    Gul stressed that Adada and he discussed possible ways to develop
    trade between the two countries. "The agreement on economic and
    technical cooperation between Turkey and Congo has been ratified at
    the Turkish parliament. The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency
    (TIKA) is very active in Africa. TIKA will soon open an office in
    western Africa."

    Minister Adada indicated that Turkey is a big and very important
    country for Congo. "Businessmen and businesswomen in both countries
    must explore ways for mutual investments. Spreading peace and
    democracy in the African continent is quiet important for Congo. Our
    government is doing all it can to maintain and keep peace."