29 October, 2005
European aspirations and casus belli are incompatible concepts, President Karolos Papoulias said on Thursday, urging Turkey to decide which path it will follow.
"Acquis communautaire and occupation forces are two conflicting realities. Turkey is at a crossroads: It will either consistently follow the path of a European future or it will never reach full accession," Papoulias said during a dinner hosted in his honor by the Third Army Corps Commander, Lt. General Elias Petsas in Thessaloniki.
Papoulias noted that if Turkey decides to follow the European path then it will have to revise basic policies.
According to the president, Ankara must proceed with the re-opening of the Theological School in Halki, recognition of the Patriarchate's ecumenical status, creation of good neighborly relations with all EU member states, extension of its customs union agreement with the Cyprus Republic and the latter's recognition.
"The start of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey creates a new environment and optimism, but not complacency, in terms of Greek-Turkish relations. Our neighboring country has made clear commitments to the European Union, which it will soon need to implement," Papoulias said.
The president predicted that Turkey's road to EU accession "will be long and difficult, painful; it will be marked by regression and internal turbulence."
Referring to Greek armed forces, Papoulias said that although Greece's independence and territorial integrity are not in any danger at present, the country's geographical position in the troubled Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean region, requires competent armed forces, ready and high-spirited.
Papoulias also underscored the impact of Turkey's unilateral provocations in the Aegean on both countries' economies and on the quality of life of more vulnerable classes.
Source: Athens News Agency