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ARAB-EUROPEAN - Dec 8 - EU Gets A Warning From Edgy Turkey.

The EU ambassador for Turkey Oguz Demiralp, says EU cannot expect Turkey to remain in its orbit if it did not admit the country to the bloc. He said the representatives who included sometimes offensive wording in a draft EU summit statement on whether to open membership talks with Turkey were mistaken in assuming Turkey would align itself with the EU automatically. He said: The language assumes Turkey would remain in the orbit of the EU no matter what happens. That is not true". EU leaders are to decide at a meeting Dec 17 whether to open accession talks with Ankara, which has been seeking to join since 1963. France and Austria are pushing for the EU to spell out an alternative, less-than-full membership. Demiralp said there was no logic for Turkey to stay on its pro-EU course if leaders said "no" or offered it some kind of partnership short of membership. He said: Many cards will be redistributed, if there was not a positive decision. If a candidate country does not have, as finality, membership, why should that country align itself to the agricultural policy of the EU. Accession negotiations will be only for the purpose of accession and we do not want to see any language to cast shadows on this finality". He objected to a phrase proposed by the EU executive, the European Commission, which said the negotiations were an "open-ended process whose outcome cannot be guaranteed beforehand". Demiralp added that he wanted the decision Dec 17 to set a clear date, no later than next spring, to start talks. In a rare show of unity, Turkey's President, PM, Army Chief and opposition party leader issued a strong joint protest against EU moves to impose new conditions for the start of membership talks. They were reacting to the latest draft statement, prepared for the Dec 17 meeting, that reportedly criticises Turkey's record on torture and would set standards for EU entry that are tougher than those for other candidate countries. Resistance by France, Austria and the Netherlands, among other countries, has fueled anger across Turkey, and the Turkish leaders, clearly irritated, suggested the Europeans were treating them unfairly. In Belek, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey, pledged that his government would remove any remaining obstacles to religious freedoms in Turkey as he opened a complex of Muslim, Christian and Jewish worship sites. The site, called the Garden of Religions, in the Mediterranean resort of Belek, contains a mosque, a church and a synagogue. It was inaugurated to underscore tolerance among different cultures at a time when Turkey is under fire from the EU for failing to fully respect the rights of its non-Muslim minorities. Erdogan said at the ceremony that religious tolerance was a heritage of the Ottoman Empire and quoted edicts by Mehmet the Conqueror, the sultan who took Istanbul in 1453, ordering respect for non-Muslims. On another issue, Turkey resisted calls to recognise Cyprus before the EU meeting. Turkey recognises only the Turkish Cypriot enclave in north Cyprus, while the rest of the world views the Greek Cypriot government in the south, which joined the EU in May, as the representative of the whole island. Asked in an interview with Le Monde in France if Turkey would recognise Cyprus, Erdogan said: No, and we find it unjust that this question is put to us when we did all we could for a peaceful solution to be found in Cyprus. Only the UN can ask us to recognise Cyprus and this has nothing to do with the EU". The Cypriot question will not be broached until after the summit Dec 17, he said.
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Title Annotation:European Union
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Dec 11, 2004
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