Turkey Following Escalating Tension in Iraq

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 – Journal of Turkish weekly – ANKARA — Spokesperson for Turkish Foreign Ministry, Selcuk Unal, has said Turkey was following the escalating tension between Irbil and Baghdad with concern.

Selcuk Unal replied questions for the first time in English about several issues on twitter page of Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. Noting that Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been improving its systems on social media, Unal said that they had started using social media more actively. He added that Turkish followers of the twitter account had surpassed 174,000 as of November 27, 2012. Praising importance of EU’s enlargement policy, Unal said that Turkey’s accession to the European Union would be beneficial for both sides.

“A powerful international structure in our continent in terms of political, economic, social and cultural co-operation and development. The accession of a democratic and modern Turkey with its unique geo-strategic position would bring major benefits to the EU as well. Thanks to our dynamic economy and young population, the enlarged EU with Turkey on board can respond better to the challenges of globalisation. With our pro-active and multidimensional foreign policy and strong ties with the countries of the region, Turkey can contribute to the credibility and effectiveness of the EU’s foreign policy. Turkey’s location can also help to expand and diversify supply routes for oil and natural gas to European markets. Turkey could contribute to the EU’s perception of cultural diversity and the dialogue among cultures because we share the same universal values,” he said.

Unal also said that Turkey’s membership to the union would also contribute to the regional and global peace and stability as well as the dissemination of universal values to a wider geography.Responding questions on Cyprus issue, Unal reminded that the coming year would be the 50th year of the problem in the island. Stating Turkey’s aim in Cyprus was a negotiated and mutually agreed political settlement, Unal expressed that Turkey would not wait for another 50 years. “The Turkish side’s commitment to be ‘one step ahead’ did not change since the Annan Plan negotiations in 2004. We fully supported the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. 2012 will be the 50th year of the Cyprus problem. We cannot tolerate another 50 years,” he said.