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Ankara: Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel heads EU Troika-Turkey meeting

President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, headed the ministerial EU Troika meeting with Turkey in Ankara today. The Turkish delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Ali Babacan. The Troika meeting was also attended by European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Secretary of State for European Affairs, representing the next EU Council Presidency holder, France.

The first part of the Troika was devoted to reviewing the state of EU-Turkey relations.  Special attention was given to Turkey’s progress in the EU negotiation process and to the implementation of Accession Partnership priority tasks. GAERC Council President, Dr Rupel, stressed that the Slovenian Presidency is working hard to open two chapters at the negotiation conference in June.  He pointed out that the year 2008 is important for the continuation of the reform process in Turkey. He welcomed the amendment of Article 301 of the Penal Code, a constructive step towards ensuring freedom of expression, as a sign of readiness to pursue reform.  EU expects Turkey to make progress both in aligning national law with European legislation and in implementing it. Dr Rupel expressed the expectation that Turkey will implement the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement in respect of all EU Member States. On a settlement to the issue of Cyprus, the EU welcomed Turkey’s commitment to contribute to the process of seeking a comprehensive solution.

The second part of discussions focused on an exchange of positions on topical international issues in the wider neighbourhood – Iran, progress in the Middle East peace process after Annapolis, and the situation in the Southern Caucasus.


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Date: 09.05.2008