Memorandum from the Embassy of the Republic
1. Relations with Britain constitute one
of Turkey's oldest links with Western Europe going back over four
hundred years. Following the international developments of the
twentieth century and experiences of the Cold War, formation of
the Western Alliance, and, more recently, the developments in
Europe and beyond since the end of the Cold War, Turkey and the
UK find themselves at the beginning of a new century as long-time
allies and economic partners that share similar values and visions.
2. Located at two opposite corners of the
European landscape, Turkey and the UK have a common interest in
continuing to forge a strong, mutually beneficial partnership.
Turkey and the UK, as two NATO allies, have a common strategic
approach on most regional and international issues, as well as
co-operation in many diversified areas.
3. Turkey values the UK's unique position
in Europe, with its strong ties with the US, as Turkish-American
relations and the trans-Atlantic link constitute prominent features
of Turkish foreign policy. The shape that the EU will take, and
the role it will play regionally and globally, stands to benefit
from the realistic and pragmatic approach associated with British
thinking on foreign policy. Turkey too occupies a unique position
in its region. A secular parliamentary democracy with a predominantly
Muslim population, Turkey aims to provide for its people the highest
standards of living, political participation and security. This
objective is also reflected in Turkey's determination to join
the EU. Given Turkey's location at the cross-roads of Europe,
the Middle East and Asia, and its economic potential as well as
its dynamic population, Turkey is well-placed to contribute to
the political stability and the economic prosperity of its region.
Moreover, Turkey's multi-cultural heritage and decades of democratic
republican tradition in a turbulent region is the living proof
of the compatibility of Islam, democracy and secularism, attesting
thereby to the success of the Turkish model.
4. Full integration with the EU is one of
Turkey's primary objectives. Turkey's historical interaction with
Europe and its support for contemporary universal values combined
with its geo-strategic and economic potentials form the necessary
infrastructure upon which a mutually beneficial membership into
the EU can be based. The socio-political transformation that Turkey
has undergone since the early 1980s has brought Turkey closer
to the EU. The Turkish Government and the Turkish people are well
aware of the need to upgrade their institutions and sectors in
line with EU requirements. Following the recognition of its candidacy
at the EU Helsinki Summit of 1999, Turkey has launched a comprehensive
process of reform aimed at harmonising its legislation and practices
with EU acquis. In response to EU's adoption of the Accession
Partnership document, the Turkish Government unveiled its National
Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis in March 2001. Under
this programme, Turkey has realised a series of reforms which
are in line with the Copenhagen criteria.
5. During 2001, significant progress was
recorded in Turkish relations with the EU. Turkey has adopted
amendments to its Constitution and has initiated a process of
further legislative reform to guarantee fuller enjoyment of basic
freedoms and human rights. More specifically, the Turkish Government
has recently declared its plans to fulfil all its short-term commitments
covered in the National Programme by the end of March 2002. On
its part, the EU has recognised these achievements in the Presidency
Conclusions of the Laeken European Council, reinforcing Turkey's
perspective for full membership.
6. The prospect of accession to the EU enjoys
a reassuring majority among political parties and the public at
large. In fact, the ongoing reform process in Turkey has long
assumed its own dynamics in line with the democratic aspirations
of the Turkish people and the determination of the Turkish Government
to meet the expectations of its people. Turkey expects the EU
to fulfil its own obligations and to take steps commensurate with
Turkey's achievements. In this context, Turkey attaches importance
to the role that can be played by the UK in support of Turkey's
7. Similarly, Turkey intends to accelerate
the work being conducted in the harmonisation of the acquis. The
eight sub-committees will now proceed in their work for a more
"detailed scrutiny". The sub-committees will hold a
third round of meetings under this new format, starting in March
2002. The work programme has already been determined and Turkey
intends to complete most of this work during the Spanish presidency.
8. Turkey has a substantial agenda for 2002,
supported by the political will and commitment, with which it
intends to forge ahead to comply with the Copenhagen criteria.
2002 will be a crucial year in which Turkey has to complete its
undertakings. Turkey's main objective in 2002 will be to secure
a decision on a date for opening accession negotiations by the
latest at the Copenhagen European Council. The EU, on its part,
needs merely to treat Turkey without discrimination or ambivalence
and consequently accord Turkey what is required by the accession
9. Turkey has consistently supported all
efforts to give Europeans more responsibilities as regards their
own security and defence. Turkey's stance in this regard has two
main caveats. First and foremost, the transatlantic link should
be preserved and any new arrangements pertaining to European security
should not be to the detriment of Allied solidarity and cohesion.
With this understanding, Turkey has worked to give the WEU a genuine
operational capability, and has also supported the ESDI and the
ESDP at the time of their inception.
10. As the WEU grinded to a halt, Turkey
gave its consent to the NATO Washington Summit Decisions (1999)
on ESDI and in particular on how the Alliance would support the
EU's crisis management efforts. Turkey, as a NATO Ally, feels
bound only by the Washington decisions in this field. These decisions
must be adhered to in their totality as regards the interaction
between NATO and the EU in the security domain. In this context,
the delicate balance that was achieved at Washington between EU
access to NATO assets and capabilities on the one hand, and the
satisfactory participation of non-EU European Allies on the other,
must be maintained. This is Turkey's point of departure as regards
the arrangements that are to be developed between NATO and the
11. It should be stressed that Turkey, as
a candidate for EU accession, has no qualms about the EU developing
a security and defence dimension. Nevertheless, as Turkey is not
a member yet, the need to make sure that the arrangements between
NATO and the EU take into consideration the concerns and interests
of all the members of NATO and the EU become all the more apparent.
12. Turkey is located in a geography that
neighbours the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Eastern Mediterranean
and the Black Sea basins as well as the Middle East. According
to NATO evaluations, a strong majority of the potential crisis
situations may be anticipated in the vicinity of Turkey. Moreover,
it is always possible that non-Article 5 operations can turn into
Article 5 contingencies. This is why Turkey's participation in
EU conflict prevention and crisis management activities is essential
as any crisis in the region around it will almost certainly have
economic, social, political and military implications for Turkey.
13. In this regard, there need to be permanent
mechanisms that will provide the necessary guarantee that the
national security interests of non-EU European Allies will be
fully taken into consideration by the EU in the relevant aspects
of the implementation of ESDP. This means effective participation
in the EU process, including the preparation, planning and political
control and strategic direction of EU operations.
14. In view of both the importance of the
issue at hand and the Washington decisions, Turkey has persistently
advocated the need to reach a satisfactory solution to the issue
of the participation of non-EU European Allies in ESDP activities.
For the most part, Turkish initiatives to resolve this issue did
not find many supporters among the Allies that were also EU members
and, despite the Washington decisions, many Allies took the position
that this issue was for the EU to resolve internally.
15. As Turkey's strong reservations became
more apparent for all Allies, the need to find a solution to this
issue became increasingly evident. In this general setting, the
UK initiated a process to find a solution to this issue in the
spring of 2001. After successive meetings in Istanbul, Ankara
and London and then again in Ankara, with the US in a facilitating
role, a compromise text was finally attained in Ankara and the
Turkish Government endorsed this outcome on 2 December 2001.
16. However, the EU could not adopt this
compromise at the EU Council meetings in December and consequently,
a decision on the interlinked issue of assured EU access to NATO
planning capabilities, as envisaged at Washington, could not be
taken at the NATO ministerial meetings in December either.
17. Turkey appreciates the role played by
the UK in finding a solution that may be acceptable both to Turkey
and the EU on the politically sensitive issue of participation.
The UK's further efforts to bring this process to a successful
conclusion in the EU on the basis of the existing Ankara compromise
text will enable the necessary decision to be taken in NATO on
assured EU access and also for work to proceed on the other important
aspects of the ESDI agenda.
18. Cyprus is the common homeland of both
the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot peoples who are of different
culture, language, religion and nationality. Before the United
Kingdom relinquished its sovereignty over Cyprus, it recognised
in 1956 and 1958 through its Government statements in the Parliament,
that the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot peoples are the
two co-owners of the Island and that they have separate rights
to self-determination. However, the failure of the international
community over the years to recognise this reality has hindered
finding a lasting and mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus
19. The acknowledgement of the existence
of two equal peoples in the Island and their two sovereign States
holds the key to a peaceful future in the Island. Neither side
has the power or capacity to represent or to speak on behalf of
the other party or for the entire Island. The two States in Cyprus
each represent only one of the two peoples and their actions are
confined to their own population and to their own territory.
20. In this context, Turkey and the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have fundamental objections
to the application of the Greek Cypriots to the EU and the processing
of this application by the EU. This position is based on the 1960
Treaties on Cyprus which render such a unilateral course of action
illegal under international law. Given the traumatic history of
the Island, the legal and political facts and realities as well
as the moral aspect of the issue further substantiate the Turkish
21. Turkey supports the good offices mission
of the UN Secretary General and hopes the direct talks initiated
on 16 January 2002 between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot
leaders will lead to a realistic, viable and just settlement in
22. Turkey and the UK have worked together
in facing the common challenges that have arisen in the past decades.
They have both taken action against the threat of terrorism demonstrated
by the events of 11 September. As has been stated by Turkey prior
to 11 September, terrorism does not pertain to any single geography,
nor does it recognise any national boundaries. Likewise, effective
combat with terrorism requires a comprehensive international approach.
The struggle against terrorism should not be compromised by selectivity.
Turkey was dismayed that the final lists published in the official
EU Gazette on 28 December 2001 did not incorporate the terrorist
organisations which are a threat to Turkey and which are able
to operate from some EU member states. Turkey appreciates the
inclusion of these organisations in the list of proscribed organisations
in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. It is nevertheless disheartening
to see that proscribed terrorist organisations and their affiliates
continue to blatantly defy this Act.
23. As regards the recent international
initiatives to neutralise the scourge of terrorism, the UK has
commendably assumed a leading role. Turkey is one of the troop-contributing
nations to ISAF under UK command. Turkey stands ready to further
contribute to this international effort, including the possibility
of taking over the command role of the international forces in
Afghanistan after the UK. Turkey also intends to play its role
in the reconstruction of Afghanistan taking into account its historic
relationship with this friendly country and its ties to Central
24. The potential of co-operation and partnership
between the UK and Turkey has not been fully exploited. The economic,
social, political and strategic benefits that will derive from
such a relationship are too important to ignore.
25. The United Kingdom is one of the major
trading and financial partners of Turkey. Bilateral trade between
the two countries was 4.7 billion US Dollars in the year 2000,
constituting 7.3 per cent and 5 per cent of Turkey's total exports
and imports respectively. On the other hand, the UK is one of
the biggest investors in Turkey. Co-operation between HSBC and
Demirbank is one of the latest successful examples. Turkey hopes
new partnerships will follow suit. There is still an important
potential for economic co-operation between the two countries.
26. Tourism constitutes an important channel
of contact between British and Turkish people. Approximately one
million tourists from the UK visit Turkey annually. Turkey hopes
to host greater number of British tourists in the coming years.
Similarly, further development of cultural contacts will contribute
to a deeper understanding between the people of both countries.
27. Finally, Turkey appreciates the interest
of the Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding UK's relations with
Turkey. As part of the need to increase and deepen these relations,
contacts between the two Parliaments need to be enhanced. Interaction
at the parliamentary level will help the development of a better
understanding of each other on both sides. As such, Turkey hopes
that the encouraging and supportive voice of the House of Commons
will be conducive to recognising and bringing to life the full
potential of Turkish-UK co-operation in all fields.
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey