Source Pravda.Ru

Turkish Government Units with the US against Iraq and Applies for EU Membership - 12 December, 2002 - News

Though European Commissioner for EU Enlargement says Turkey has to wait ten years to become EU member

The head of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party, Erdogan says the new Islamist government of Turkey wants to establish solid relations with Washington. So, it is clear Turkey wants to support the US in its opposition with Iraq. Turkey, however, insists on territorial integrity of Iraq and makes hints to Washington about necessity to more carefully plan potential economical consequences of the possible war with Iraq, whatever form it would have. Turkey speaks for annihilation of weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, Erdogan said while appearing in Centre of Strategic and International Research in Washington. “In case the Saddam Husain regime does not accept the international community decision, the proper response will be inevitable.”

Although Erdogan does not occupy any official post in the new Turkish government, the Washington Times reports, he is supposed to be the most influential political figure in the country. The US President was very interested in a meeting with him. Turkish military bases will be very important in case of war with Iraq.

Party of Justice and Development won an impressive victory in the November parliamentary election having gained two thirds of the parliament seats. Erdogan, who was very popular Istanbul mayor, was banned to participate in the election because of him kindling “religious hate” in 1998.

Thanks to overwhelming majority the party has now in the parliament Erdogan could expect the ban to occupy a governmental post to be cancelled. He will likely run for a free seat in the parliament during the additional election. If everything is all right, the chair of prime-minister will be specially vacated for Erdogan. Now, it is occupied by his ally Abdullah Gul.

Europeans are more careful than Americans as for Justice and Development Party, for they do not prepare for the war. Already this weekend Turks will probably know from the European Union the exact date of the negotiation on the Turkey EU membership. However, they probably will not: the Europeans do not know yet, how the new Turkish government will behave. Guenter Verheugen, the European Commissioner for EU Enlargement, said Turks have to wait ten years or so for being admitted to the Union. Though, as Erdogan says, in this case, Europeans should not account on special buffer role of Turkey in the conflict of civilizations.

Sergei Borisov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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