Davutoglu calls for more active Eu foreign policy
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu over the weekend urged the European Union to seek more influence in the Southern Caucasus and Middle East, regions where Ankara already considers itself a major player. Davutoglu's remarks came in Lapland, Finland, ahead of an informal meeting with seven of his EU counterparts, news portal EUobserver reported. "We want the EU to be much more active in all international affairs and also much more visionary, because the EU itself is a good example of how countries who had serious difficulties, the worst tensions in the past, came together based on the principle of values as well as economic interests," Davutoglu was quoted as saying, praising the EU as a "good model" for integration which countries in the South Caucasus and Middle East could learn from. "The EU can provide strong messages and very good examples for other countries and regions," he said. Iran's controversial nuclear program was a top issue of the meeting in Finland. Davutoglu, who has visited Iran several times to try to broker a uranium exchange deal that might prevent the need for sanctions, said he had had an open exchange with his colleagues, including EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, and remained convinced sanctions would be a mistake. "We shared our views and we're trying to develop a common approach," he said when asked if he had managed to convince his EU counterparts that sanctions on Iran were wrong. "I believe there is room for diplomacy and that the EU can play a significant role. If there is good strategic cooperation between Turkey and the EU, this will help not only the Iranian nuclear issue but all other regional issues in the Middle East and the Balkans," he said. Davutoglu was the only foreign minister from a non-EU member country at the two-day meeting, which focused on the EU's relationship with developing powers.