Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday no one had the right to block, directly or indirectly, Turkey's negotiations process with the European Union (EU).

 

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Slovakian counterpart Ivan Gasparovic, Gul said that Turkey has been in the Customs Union since 1995.

Turkey is a limited member of the EU currently. I would like to draw the attention of certain countries that refer to Turkey's limited membership openly or behind closed doors. Turkey's present status is ahead of a limited membership, Gul stressed.

Expressing his happiness in visiting Slovakia, Gul said that Slovakia has achieved much success since gaining independence.

We exchanged ideas during our tete-a-tete meeting as well as during the meeting of respective delegations, Gul said.

We had a chance to evaluate bilateral ties, Gul noted.

Turkey and Slovakia have good cooperation in political matters. The two countries support each other in international organizations, Gul said.

We thank Slovakia for supporting Turkey's EU bid, Gul said.

Economic relations between the two countries are progressing well. The bilateral trade volume has reached 1 billion euros. There exist a potential for mutual investments, Gul said.

We discussed the issue of energy and reaffirmed Turkey's crucial role for Europe's energy security, Gul said.

I informed President Gasparovic about Turkey's attempts for peace in its surrounding region, Gul said.

"There is no such thing as limited membership in EU"

Asked whether it would be acceptable for Turkey to receive the status of a "priviliged partner" in the EU, President Gul said that "there was no such thing as limited membership in the EU".

Turkey began full membership negotiations after an unanimous vote. Turkey is determined to complete the negotiations process, Gul stressed.

Turkey expects member countries to be loyal to their signatures, Gul said.

Loyalty to signatures has to do with the credibility of the EU and its member states, Gul noted.

No one has the right to (negatively) affect Turkey's negotiations process directly or indirectly, Gul said.

In response to a question on Afghanistan, Gul said that Turkey believed a solution in Afghanistan could not be reached merely by military forces.

Turkey pays high attention to winning the hearts of the Afghan people while taking strong military measures in that country. Turkey is involved in projects related to education, health and construction in Afghanistan, Gul added.

AA