World Bulletin/News Desk
Britain's former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, on Tuesday said certain European countries were opposed to Turkey's European membership on religious grounds.
"We have seen this extraordinary rise of Turkey in economic and social terms. We agreed to get the accession negotiations in 2005 but the process has been halted by an unholy alliance between France, Germany and Greek Cypriots in 2005. If it was just a geographical claim there was no way Cyprus or Malta would be included within the borders of the EU. It is not a geographical claim, it is a religious claim," Straw told a panel discussion at Ankara-based think-tank Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.
"There is a double standard when Turkey is compared with some eastern European countries. Bulgaria and Romania have come into the EU for strategic reasons even everybody round that table knew they did not meet the Copenhagen criteria," Straw said.
"Syrian regime has a lot of experience of planting bombs"
Straw extended his condolences for those who were killed in twin blasts over the weekend in Turkey's southern town of Reyhanli.
"The blasts in Reyhanli have been linked by the Turkish government to Syria, not least because of Syrian support for these far left groups who seem to have to have carried it out. Turkey has the intelligence. So I have to defer to them, but with my knowledge of the Turkish government I see no reason why they would be claiming this if it were not correct. And of course we know that the Syrian regime has a lot of experience of planting bombs as they did against Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon," said Straw.
"Turkey's interests should be taken into account on the FTA"
Straw said it was very important that Turkey's interests were taken into account in relation to free trade agreement talks between the United States and the EU.
"One of the things I will be perusing is to try and ensure that Turkey's interests are factored into relations and the discussions with the US," Straw added.Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2013, 09:24