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 Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Shadow Secretary of State for International Affairs, Shadow Foreign Secretary & Deputy Leader, International Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, Shadow Foreign Secretary 11:30 am, 15th June 2004

I am tempted to ask whether that was the message that the Minister got on his pager earlier. Will he use what influence he has with his European colleagues to expedite the announcement of a starting date for the negotiations on accession for Turkey? Turkey is making welcome efforts to conform to the Copenhagen criteria. It has been immensely constructive recently in seeking to resolve the problems of Cyprus, and of course it has been a staunch ally for many years in NATO. Would Turkey not also bring great value to the European Union as a natural bridge between Europe and the Islamic world, as also having historic links with the middle east and having very strong relations with the state of Israel? Does the Minister agree that an early start to negotiations, however long they may take to complete, will give Turkey the encouragement it needs to make progress at this time?