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US: Turkey in the transatlantic community a positive force
2005-10-05 12:20:47

Nicosia, Oct 5 (CNA) -- A Turkey rooted in the transatlantic community can be a positive force for Europe as well as for the United States and the transatlantic relationship, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has said.

McCormack also said that the Secretary of State ''did actually have the opportunity today (yesterday) to speak with the EU ambassadors'' in Washington.

''Ambassador Manning at the UK mission sponsored a meeting -- a previously scheduled meeting with -- between the Secretary and the EU ambassadors, the 25 EU ambassadors here in Washington. And they covered a number of different topics. They talked about putting the European-US relationship to work in furtherance of the goals of the spread of democracy through the Middle East, fighting terrorism,'' he said.

He noted that Rice also talked about the EU decision to begin accession talks with Turkey and reiterated the US view ''that we believe that a Turkey firmly anchored in Europe will best serve the interests of the transatlantic family and will be an even more positive force for advancing peace, prosperity and democracy.''

He recalled that the US had long supported Turkey's aspirations to begin discussions with the EU.

''But that said, we don't have a vote in the matter. So these talks can extend out over some period of time but we think it is a positive development that the EU took the decision to begin those talks with the Turkish government,'' he added.

Replying to another question, McCormack said ''the pathway that the EU-Turkey talks is going to be for the EU and the Turkish government to determine.''

Asked if any of the 25 EU ambassadors expressed their concern that maybe the Secretary had overstepped the boundary by inserting herself into what was an EU process, McCormack said that ''while expressing our support both rhetorically and diplomatically for Turkey's aspirations, we have been very careful to respect the fact that this is an EU process and to state very clearly that the United States doesn't have a vote in this process.''

Replying to questions, MacCormack said ''both the EU and Turkey working together are going to determine at what pace they are able to proceed. And I think it's probably, to a certain extent, going to be conditions-based on both sides.''

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