Turkey, EU clash over northern Cyprus's participation in OIC-EU forum

Anatolia news agency
30 Sep 04

Ankara, 30 September: European Union (EU) Acting Presidency offered
Turkey that observer countries including also [self-declared] Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should take their place at the
table in the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] - EU foreign
ministers' Joint Forum without their name plates. Dutch Ambassador to
Turkey Sjoerd Gosses replied to questions of reporters, after the
luncheon hosted by Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
Abdullah Gul in honour of EU countries' ambassadors to Turkey.

Stating that Turkey did not accept the offer made by EU Acting
Presidency on Wednesday evening [29 September], Gosses said that
Turkish side insisted that name plates should be on the table.

Gosses said that he would convey this response to Dutch authorities,
noting that EU Acting President's Office asked all EU countries to
give information about their participation in the forum. [Passage
omitted]

Expressing his sorrow over this problem, Gosses noted that it could
not be said that this name ('Turkish Cypriot State') was accepted by
the OIC so EU should also accept it.

Gosses stated that many countries said that if TRNC attends the forum
under the name of 'Turkish Cypriot State', they would not take part in
the forum. Gosses said that they also proposed that they could issue
a statement saying that "they don't recognize TRNC" before the forum,
but this proposal was not accepted by a significant part of new
members of the EU. [Passage omitted]

Asked whether the Dutch foreign minister would participate in the
forum, Gosses said that he could not say for sure, adding he was
doubtful whether foreign minister would attend under these
circumstances.

Foreign Minister Gul said that he considered that EU Acting
Presidency's offer that observer countries should attend OIC-EU Joint
Forum without their name plates was not normal.

Answering a question on participation of EU countries in the forum,
Gul said that EU authorities would decide on this issue, adding that
they expected foreign ministers to attend it. "OIC and EU are
different organizations. TRNC is an observer member of the OIC, and it
will attend the forum with this status," he added.

Other issues

Sources said that Greek Ambassador to Turkey Micheal Christides asked
Gul to inform them on his meetings in the UN General Assembly and his
meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan.

Gul said that he had many meetings in New York, stating that his
meeting with Oskanyan was very fruitful, stating that they would
continue to contribute to solution of problems between Armenia and
Azerbaijan.

British Ambassador to Turkey Peter Westmacott mentioned attacks on
HSBC branches and asked what measures Turkey has taken.

Gul said that both intelligence and security departments were paying
great attention to this issue, noting that they would not allow such
attacks. Gul added that they were in touch with British authorities
and acting together on this issue.