Gul welcomes move to continue charter talks
Speaking to reporters during his visit to Portugal, President Abdullah Gul said that he always believed that a new Constitution was possible. "But last time I expressed the unfortunate fact. The parliamentary speaker also stated it. This Parliament, which has a strong legitimacy and represents everyone and every movement of thought, should have done that. I expressed my sorrow for the point we have reached. The process was extended, and I would be the happiest person if a Constitution could be made with conciliation. As a president, this would be the thing that I would mostly take pride in both in Turkey and abroad. If each party contributes to it, I will applaud and praise them," Gul said. In response to a reporter's question regarding the withdrawal of the outlawed PKK militants, Gul said that the main goal here was to completely disarm an armed organization. "If not, they will always remain as a threat. This [disarming] will also favor them. Like in the past, they could be manipulated out of their will. The vulnerability of this region is evident. It is necessary to initiate this work now. All sorts of works, including open and closed ones, are required. I have always expressed that it is essential to resort to all possible ways to get rid of terrorism," Gul noted. Answering a question on how could the constitutional and other developments in Turkey affect the country's relations with the EU, Gul said the following: "The suspension of the EU process, or the negotiation process, is not because of Turkey, but the EU countries. EU countries are mainly responsible for that. Some developed countries, especially France, prevented the opening of some chapters by hiding behind the Cyprus issue. It stems from the lack of strategy within the EU countries. Of course we see the economic crisis in the EU but it has nothing to do with the blockage of the negotiation process. Also, the negotiation process does not bring full membership, it only would result in a referendum, and political decisions will be made with regard to it. We are telling our counterparts not to block the process since it is not good for them, either. The country which completes the negotiations is the one which validates all the EU criteria in itself, such as Norway or Switzerland. Such a country does not suggest anything to be afraid of, instead, it should evoke feelings of joy. We are asking the French whether their companies would function better in a country where EU criteria are practiced or not. We tell them that they are actually harming themselves. Of course there is a lack of motivation for us. When they did not open some chapters for inhibiting reasons, this is a prohibitive attitude. I think we would help our country if we behave as if we open or close the chapters by ourselves. The initiation of the negotiation process has made great contributions to the point Turkish economy has reached. Implementing the Maastricht and Copenhagen Criteria has made Turkey stronger. We will revive the process."