Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday Turkey's contributions to the European Union (EU) should not be forgotten.

 

There is no other alternative than full membership in the EU for Turkey, Gul stressed.
President Gul visited the Comenius University in Bratislava on the second day of his official trip to Slovakia.

The Senate of the Comenius University decorated President Gul with the "University Golden Medal".
Addressing the academicians and students of Comenius University, Gul talked about Turkey's foreign policy and its relations with the EU.

Turkey's foreign policy is designed to bring peace, stability and welfare to the surrounding region, Gul said.

The world was the scene of important changes recently. Due to its (geographical) status, Turkey got affected more than any other country by newly emerged risks, Gul said.

As NATO assumed wider missions, Turkey's role in regions of problems grew, Gul stressed.

Turkey, firstly, tried to solve its problems with neighbors in the Balkans. Later, Turkey established good relations with its southern neighbors. Russia became an important commercial partner of Turkey, Gul said.

Most recently, Turkey proposed the establishment of the Caucasus Cooperation Platform for peace and stability in the Caucasus region. Turkey has made efforts to normalize relations with Armenia, Gul said.

Turkey has deep historical relations with both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The problems in the region are as important as those in the Middle East and have a potential to (negatively) affect global stability.

Turkey began the trilateral summit meetings to establish security between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gul noted.

Turkey is a bridge between the east and the west. Thanks to our unique position, we can understand the mentality in different regions, Gul said.

Touching on Turkey's EU process, Gul said that Turkey has had relations with Europe for over 1,000 years.

Turkey has turned its face towards the West and continues EU membership negotiations with determination. The negotiations have two sides. While Turkey is doing all it can, the EU lags behind Turkey with its performance, Gul said.

Turkey's contributions to the EU should not be forgotten. There is no other alternative than full membership for Turkey, Gul said.

Turkey will make the EU cake bigger. The membership process of big countries has always been difficult and we are aware of this as we conduct entry negotiations, Gul said.

I am very pleased to be here at the Comenius University. I am happy to see efforts being made to open a Turkish Language Department at this university. Turkey will extend support to Comenius University for this purpose, Gul also said.

Rector of Comenius University Frantisek Gaher said that Turkey's crucial role for global peace lies in the words of late Ataturk who had emphasized "Peace at Home, Peace in the World" principle.

Turkey is a bridge between the east and the west and different worlds. Turkey sends strong messages in this respect. Being a bridge implies being in a sensitive position, Gaher stressed.

President Gul has worked for peace both as a president and former foreign minister. As such, we have decided to decorate him with our university's golden medal, Gaher said.

Meanwhile, President Gul had a working breakfast with Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico and later met with the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Pavol Paska.

Gul's meetings with Fico and Paska were closed to the press corps.

AA