Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Strange Days in Turkey.....


In his first day in Turkey, the Pope has urged "authentic dialogue" between religions and underlined Turkey's role as a bridge in interfaith dialogue. After previously angering Muslims worldwide with remarks seen as linking Islam to violence, the Pope seems to have opted for conciliation and fence-mending.

The Pope, in a striking reversal of opinion, also said he backed Turkey's bid to join the European Union. "We want Turkey to be part of the EU," Turkish prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan quoted Benedict XVI as telling him.This represented the most pro-Turkish statement from the Vatican since Benedict became Pope last year. Nevertheless, not everyone in Turkey is happy with the Pope’s visit...

EU term president Finland has announced that its attempts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem have ended unsuccessfully. Turkish Government spokesman Cemil Cicek Cicek responded by saying that it was wrong to allow the Cyprus row to ‘torpedo’ Turkey‘s EU relations. Now that the Finnish plan has officially failed to make any progress, Germany and Austria have made statements against Turkey’s European Union membership process.German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Turkey had not fulfilled its responsibilities in regard to the Customs Union. This situation could not be “ignored,” she added. The Austrian foreign minister, Ursula Plassnik, defended her opinion that a break in Turkey’s negotiations - “to remove tension” – was needed.Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen is scheduled to make a surprise visit to Ankara on Friday in an attempt to rescue Turkey's troubled EU accession talks from a serious blow due to the Cyprus issue deadlock.

Prime Minister Erdogan has responded angrily to an opinion piece in Newsweek on the chances of a future military coup in Turkey. Zeyno Baran's controversial commentary in Newsweek's current issue stated that there is a 50-50 chance of a military coup in Turkey next year. One can but live in hope....

2 comments:

Ellee said...

This was bound to have been a controversial visit, and has had mixed reviews in the UK. I think it was courageous on his part, I'm glad the Turkish PM was able to welcome him, though it looked a bit forced.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6194848.stm

Colin said...

Sure, aren't we all happy that the Turkish PM was able to welcome the Pope.