World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish opposition leader started EU visit that aims to change the negative image in European officials.
His visit comes after PM Tayyip Erdogan's message that "opposition is totally against European membership".
The Turkish opposition leader met European commissioner for enlargement on Monday, Anadolu agency reported.
Deniz Baykal, the chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of Turkey, had a meeting with European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn in the Belgian capital of Brussels.
"We hope problems to be faced during ongoing Cyprus negotiations will not create a new handicap in Turkey's relations with Europe," Baykal told a joint press conference with Rehn.
Baykal said that Turkey's negotiations with the European Union (EU) should be concluded with full membership, and told reporters that it was the duty of the main opposition party of Turkey to support Turkey-EU accession talks.
The chairman said that a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus should be based on equality of the two communities and establishment of a new federal state.
Also speaking in the press conference, Olli Rehn did not comment on the "chador opening" of the CHP but underlined importance of Turkey's reaching a broader compromise on how it could intermingle different living styles within the scope of democratic secular spirit.
CHP, angered most Turks since it prevented the freedom of girls wearing headscarf by applying to top court to annul the amendment that would give limited freedom to headscarf such as only at universities, made "chador opening" just before the local elections by accepting women wearing headscarf and chador to the party membership.
Rehn reaffirmed the commission's commitment and support for Turkey's EU accession process, and underlined the importance the EU attached to maintaining legal and political reforms in Turkey and meeting opening criteria regarding the remaining chapters.
The commissioner expressed his expectation that both the government and opposition would join their forces to make reforms on the road to EU membership, and also extended full political support to Cyprus talks.
Rehn said he would visit Cyprus this week, and highlighted importance of reunification of Cyprus for the EU, the island itself and Turkey.
The commissioner said he expected that Cyprus negotiations would bear positive result within this year.
Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2009, 12:52