EU says has common interests with Turkey in Caucasus

An EU commissioner enumerated stability in the Southern Caucasus among common interests of Turkey and the union.

EU says has common interests with Turkey in Caucasus

A European Union (EU) commissioner enumerated on Tuesday stability in the Southern Caucasus among common interests of Turkey and the union.

EU Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn said that stability in the Southern Caucasus, peace in the Middle East, security of energy supplies is an issue on which the EU and Turkey had common interests.

"They are issues that we cannot solve or deal with alone," Rehn said during a conference at the University of Copenhagen.

Rehn said the EU's enlargement process was both about domestic reforms and strategic partnerships.

"As I told the EU foreign ministers in Stockholm this weekend, Europe and Turkey share long-term strategic interests," he said.

Rehn said that the EU had always been clear with Turkey that freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of press were fundamental values in any open and democratic European society.

"They are a necessary condition for EU membership. The same goes for religious freedoms, women's rights, minority rights and trade union rights," he said.

"And EU conditionality works. Without it, the Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk might not be a free man; Ante Gotovina and Radovan Karadzic would not be in prison, along with 40 others of the most wanted by the UN War Crimes Tribunal's; and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia might have succumbed to similar nationalist forces that drove them to war before. These are milestone achievements," Rehn also said.

Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005.

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Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2009, 11:29
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