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    Nur Batur: Unofficial cocktail reception dialogue: Gul and Ozkok express their worries

    Hürriyet Haber
    05.10.2005 - 10:11 | Son Güncelleme:

    Just 24 hours in advance of the crisis which looked to thwart Turkish-EU accession talks, an interesting conversation took place in Ankara between Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Commanding General of the Turkish Armed Forces, Hilmi Ozkok. FM Gul had already made the Turkish position clear: "We will not leave for Luxembourg without seeing the framework document."

    At a cocktail given at the Turkish Parliament building, Gul and General Ozkok fell into conversation. It is clear from their expressions and gestures that both are worried about the Austrian stance, as well as the last minute maneuvers by the Greek Cypriots. Here are some outtakes from the conversation between Gul and Ozkok, as overheard by a Hurriyet reporter:
     
    Gul: If we pull away at this point, in one month, no one will even remember us. We need to not break our ties. We will be stuck alone, and this will effect relations with our neighbors negatively for awhile. Our EU relations have a direct effect on our neighborly relations.
     
    Gul becomes aware at this point that some reporters are listening, and says "What a shame that is, listening in on us. We are speaking privately."
     
    The reporter responds: "But you are speaking at a crowded reception. We are not listening in on a conversation happening in a private room."
     
    Later that night, another interesting conversation occurs between General Ozkok and a reporter:
     
    When Ozkok is asked "What do you say about the October 3 appointment?" he responds:
     
    "It would not be appropriate for me to answer that as a soldier. The people who make this decision are the ones who will pay. If I am not going to pay the price, I do not want to be involved in the decision. As a soldier, my job is made clear by the law, and I do it well and within the government. I cannot analyze the situation in front of the people or the press."
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