Hopeful for Turkish-Brisitsh relations, Cevikoz presents credentials to Queen Elizabeth
Turkey's new Ambassador to London Unal Cevikoz yesterday presented his letter of credentials to Britain's Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace. On his plans to boost relations between Turkey and Britain, Cevikoz, who took office this summer, told Sabah daily about a number of projects to improve bilateral cooperation in such areas as education and culture in order to bring the Turkish and British peoples closer together. Citing British Prime Minister David Cameron's landmark official visit to Turkey shortly after taking office in May, Cevikoz said this clearly shows the importance the British government places on relations with Turkey. During that visit, Cameron and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an updated strategic cooperation deal to carry bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and Cameron stressed Turkey's importance to Britain and the EU. He also pledged to campaign vigorously for Turkey's EU bid and to urge German and French leaders to reconsider their opposition to Turkey's accession. Stating that Britain's three leading parties – his Conservatives, along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats – ardently support Turkey's EU bid, Cameron said the parties understand the EU hurdles Turkey has faced but also want a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue to speed up Turkey's EU accession. "The EU made an important mistake by admitting the Greek Cypriots into the Union in 2004 without solving the Cyprus issue," he continued. "If it hadn't made this mistake, either a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue could have been reached or Turkey's EU accession process could have made more progress by now." Britain isn't the only EU member country which recognizes what Turkey will bring to the Union and so supports its bid, he added. Cevikoz also expressed hope that EU opponents of Turkey will take off their blinders, adding that the swelling ranks of Turkey's friends and supporters in the EU could soon have the majority.