Portuguese president Silva meets Gul
President Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Portuguese counterpart Anibal Cavacu Silva at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Afterwards, asked about recent statements by German and French leaders suggesting a "privileged partnership" for Turkey in lieu of full membership, Gul said, "The EU unanimously decided to open membership negotiations with Turkey. This was a binding decision for all member countries, and everyone is aware of this fact. We are determined to maintain the negotiation process." For his part, Silva said that Turkey and Portugal share much in common, adding that it took Portugal seven years to get into the EU, and that many countries had opposed its membership. "Turkey has many positive and strong sides. It must use these to get the European public on its side," he added. During the meeting, Gul decorated Silva with Turkey's State Medal of Merit. In return, Silva presented Gul the Grande Colar, Portugal's highest medal of merit. Gul also hosted a banquet for Silva, who delivered a speech to Parliament.