Turkey

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 15th June 2004.

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Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 11:30 am, 15th June 2004

I agree with my hon. Friend. May I, through you, Mr. Speaker, thank him for raising forcefully in Turkey last month the case of Leyla Zana and other human rights issues in the discussions with the Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul. My hon. Friend was treading in the footsteps of the Prime Minister, who has also made representations on human rights issues directly to the Turkish Government, and he is right, of course, that in our dialogue with the Islamic world, there is an enormous opportunity to see an Islamic democratic state with great problems—I accept that—that is seeking to move in the direction of Europe. The Mediterranean coastline of Turkey lies to the west of that EU member state, Cyprus. Istanbul is a cradle city of European civilisation. I hope all member states will support Turkey's ambitions, if it meets all the relevant criteria.