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    Erdogan attends "Clinton Global Initiative"

    Hürriyet Haber
    17.09.2005 - 12:16 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the "Clinton Global Initiative" panel discussion while in New York at the UN Summit this week. The panel was headed up by former US president Bil Clinton. Erdogan was reported as saying,''In some EU countries there is an imaginary milieu which overshadows alliance of civilizations. We should not overshadow this alliance.''

    When questioned over efforts of the ruling modern Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) regarding Turkey's bid Erdogan said, ''First of all, we did not make politics by exploiting religion. Turkey is a country which gathers civilizations. The EU process of Turkey started legally in 1963 with Ankara Agreement. Then, Turkey signed Customs Union agreement in 1996. Turkey is different because it is the only country which has Customs Union deal with the EU although it is not a member. Then, in 2002, it was decided that Turkey will start entry talks rapidly if it fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria. On October 6th, 2004, European Commission prepared its political report and stated that Turkey met the required criteria. On December 17th, 2004, it was decided that entry talks with Turkey will begin on October 3rd. Now, Turkey made its all preparations for October 3rd.''

    ''If we overshadow alliance of civilizations, the EU cannot go beyond being a Christian club. If EU says that it is not a Christian club, then it has to accept Turkey,'' added Erdogan.

    When asked what Turkey would do to overcome oppositions in EU countries, Erdogan said, ''if ruling power is strong in a country, people of that country act in parallel with the ruling power. We do not have any concern in Turkey about this issue. Also, when our European friends come to Turkey and learn about Turkey and Turkish people, their attitude will absolutely change.''

    ''Currently a few EU countries have a negative attitude against Turkey. For example, Angela Merkel in Germany claims that Turkey cannot join EU because it has a high population. However, such things do not exist among EU accession criteria,'' he added.

    Regarding Cyprus issue, Erdogan said, ''Turkey fulfilled everything it was asked to do regarding Cyprus issue. Turkey was asked to give support during referendum for Annan Plan on April 24th in Cyprus. Turkey exerted all efforts during the referendum and 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of Annan Plan, while 75 percent of Greek Cypriots rejected the plan. Greek Cypriot administration, which rejected peace in Cyprus, entered EU on May 1st. Unfortunately, Turkish Cypriots, who said yes to peace, were isolated. This attitude definitely lacks seriousness in international diplomacy. Our European friends did not give support to Turkish Cypriots. Accession of Greek Cypriot administration to the EU was a mistake because there is still a line between northern and southern Cyprus. I hope, the isolation decisions are revised in the coming period.''

    Regarding poverty in the world, Erdogan said, ''recently world's biggest problem is poverty. I believe both western culture and Islamic culture have the same approach against poverty. We should take joint steps to eliminate poverty.''

    ''Another common problem of the world is terrorism. Especially after September 11th terrorist attacks, a phobia emerged against Islam in the world. However, Islam is a religion of peace. In Islam, killing one person means killing all humanity. The necessary thing is the establishment of a platform of joint fight against terrorism,'' said Erdogan.

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