DUFF: MEPS IGNORANT OF TURKEY'S GEOPOLITICAL IMPORTANCE

The New Anatolian, Turkey
Sept 27 2006

Andrew Duff, vice chair of the European Union-Turkey Joint
Parliamentary Commission, yesterday criticized the European
Parliament's passage of a report on Turkey, saying that many EP members
are ignorant of the geopolitical importance of fully embracing the
country within the European family.

Duff, a British Liberal Democrat MEP, said, "The EP has taken two steps
forwards and one step back in its approach towards the controversial
issue of Turkish EU membership," urging the Union to encourage Turkey
to continue developing a European brand of Islam that will help to
unite East and West, despite the country's many current difficulties.

"Without Turkey the EU will hardly succeed in building a serious
common foreign, security and defense policy," Duff said.

He also criticized the article approved by the MEPs on Cyprus, saying,
"It is a pity that we have missed our chance to add value to the
search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. The EU
still needs to fulfill its commitment to ending the isolation of the
Turkish Cypriot community."

Stressing that the rejection of an article in the report, prepared
by MEP Camiel Eurlings, that aimed to make Turkey's recognition of
the Armenian genocide claims a precondition for EU membership, is
"good news," Duff urged Ankara to strengthen its efforts to adapt to
EU standards, especially with respect to freedom of expression.