Britain's Brown hails Turkey's achivements of recent years
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday underlined strong friendship ties between Turkey and Britain. Speaking at a meeting in the House of Commons marking the fourth birthday of a ruling Labour Party pro-Turkey group, Brown said that he wanted to congratulate Turkey for what he called magnificent economic and political development and the transformation it has achieved in recent years. Stressing Turkey's rising international clout and influence, Brown said, "Britain is one of Turkey's most loyal friends and firmly supports its EU accession bid." Stressing that Turkey should be part of the European Union by taking the place in the center of Europe that it deserves, Brown said, "Britain extends full support to Turkey's admission into the EU, and we're ready to do whatever necessary to make Turkey a EU full member within a few years." On an official visit later this month by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Brown said, "We'll have the opportunity to further deepen our bilateral ties during this visit." Brown also thanked the Turkish community in Britain for their contributions to the country. Also speaking at the event, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband said, "The transformation process that Turkey has been going through benefits both Britain and the EU." British State Minister responsible for EU affairs Chris Bryant, Turkey's London Ambassador Yigit Alpogan, and many MPs also attended the meeting. In related news, EU Term President Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos welcomed what he called Turkey's constructive stance in relations with neighboring countries. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan, Moratinos urged Turkey and Armenia to ratify and put into effect within reasonable time frames the rapprochement protocols towards normalized relations which both signed last October. For his part, Nalbandian expressed hope that the ongoing rapprochement between Turkey and his country would go forward in line with previously reached agreements.