10 November 2004
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned EU about December17. He said, "If the decision emerging on December 17 about Turkey does not satisfy us, then we shall give up the issue."
Speaking at the budget talks at Parliament, Gul said that Turkey was not striving to enter EU at any cost.
He said that Turkey felt disturbed of some expressions about Turkey in some EU reports and "EU embraces small countries easily. But the business of big countries like Turkey has been always difficult."
Hurriyet, 9 November 2004
Turkish FM rules out EU membership "at any cost" 10/11/2004, Source: 'EU Business'
Turkey will make every effort to join the European Union, but its membership in the bloc is not an objective it will pursue at "any cost," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said late Tuesday.
Gul told parliament the EU was wary of admitting a country as vast as Turkey but was forced to consider the issue when Ankara -- to the surpise of many -- conducted a series of far-reaching reforms to align itself with EU democracy norms.
"We will do our best and see what happens," Gul was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "If the outcome does not satisfy us, we will leave it there; if it does we will go on.
"We do not believe that Turkey should do anything at any cost to join the EU," he said.
Gul's comments came in response to questions by legislators -- from both his ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposition -- during a debate on the 2005 foreign affairs budget.
The minister described as a "great success" an October 6 report by the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, proclaiming Turkey ready for membership talks.
He nonetheless criticized several suggestions the commission made to EU leaders scheduled to meet on December 17 to make the final decision on whether to invite Turkey to the negotiating table.
The commission said accession talks with Turkey should be suspended if the country backtracks on democracy and mentioned the possibility of imposing permanent measures to bar the free movement of Turkish nationals in the EU.
"If these (restrictions) are temporary, we will agree to them," Gul said. "But we cannot accept an unconditional and indefinite absence of free movement from Turkey to another (EU) country."
He stressed that Ankara would also reject the suspension of negotiations for any reason other than serious breaches of democracy.
"We are making efforts to ensure that all these (conditions) are set out objectively, free of any deceit," Gul said.
Gul: If the EU Fails Us, We'll Go Our Own Way
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has said if Turkey doesn't receive a satisfactory decision from the European Union (EU) summit on December 17th, "We'll leave it alone and go our own way."
At a Parliamentary Budget Commission for Foreign Ministry meeting, Gul said the progress report on Turkey released by the European Commission on October 6th was a great achievement for the country, but that the Foreign Ministry is continuing its efforts to achieve an affirmative decision at the December 17th summit.
"At the end, we'll have done everything in our power. If we are not satisfied with the outcome, we'll leave it alone and go our own way. We never have never said we would enter the EU unconditionally and agree to everything," continued the Foreign Minister.
He emphasized it is out of the question to recognize the Cypriot Greek administration as part of the process. As for the Greater Middle East Project, Gul said, "This project could have a hidden agenda, but if we become active in it we can prevent any wrong doings instead of watching [the process]." The Foreign Minister also reiterated his wish for normalization in Turkish-Armenian relations. (Zaman)
Compiled from Hurriyet, Zaman and EUBusiness.