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Old 19.06.2005, 15:21   #1
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Default EU official says Turkey must strengthen ties with Armenia

Jun 19, 2005, 12:40 GMT

http://news.monstersandcritics.com/m...s_with_Armenia

Kars, 19 June: Turkey-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chairman Joost Lagendijk has indicated that Turkey's most important task in its EU process is good relations with its neighbours.

Lagendijk was at the Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu's office yesterday where he made some comments on Turkey-EU relations.

"Turkey must strengthen its relations with Armenia. Nothing can be achieved with isolationist policies. I believe that Azerbaijan can get back its territory through dialogue. The EU must play an active role to find a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute. We must look at the Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan problems as ones separate from each other," told Lagendijk.

According to Lagendijk, it is vital to have regional policies to develop the economy in poor areas. "We agree with Mr Erdogan on his stance vis-a-vis Armenia. An independent committee of historians must be formed to study the incidents of early 20th century. Independent studies must take place on the events of 1915. However, the border gate between Turkey and Armenia must be opened soon," said Lagendijk.

Meanwhile, Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu stressed that the people of Kars wholeheartedly support Turkey's EU membership. "The EU is a goal outlined by Kemal Ataturk. We want to be a part of the EU," noted Alibeyoglu.

Source: Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 0742 gmt 19 Jun 05

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