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25 January, 1999
Speaking at the end of the European Democratic Union meeting here on Saturday, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis expressed support for Turkey's European prospects, saying "we support a Turkey which will meet and fulfill all European prospects and will be a more compatible neighbor for Greece."
Mr. Karamanlis said this meant that on its part Turkey will also honor absolutely and fulfill obligations and terms set by the European Union concerning the need for the country's complete democratization, respect for human rights and minorities, the denunciation of force or the threat of the use of force and will show absolute respect for international law and treaties.
Mr. Karamanlis said that European Monetary Union and the single currency were not enough since a common foreign policy and defense and security policy were also necessary, as well as the European Parliament acquiring more responsibilities.
Mr. Karamanlis completed his visit here yesterday with a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos. In the morning, Mr. Karamanlis had attended a church service at Saint George Cathedral at the Phanar at which Vartholomeos had officiated.
Welcoming Mr. Karamanlis, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that "the fact that we prayed all together as one family for the good of the church and the people was also another pleasure for us in the visit of New Democracy's president."
Vartholomeos wished Mr. Karamanlis that "God will bless his efforts for the good of Greece and the good of society at large."
Vartholomeos revealed that the Metropolitans of Serres and Veroia visited him a few days ago and prepared with him the program of his visit to Athens on May 20. He said that according to protocol he will be received with honors bestowed upon a head of state and, consequently, he will meet the political leadership and the President of the Republic, adding that he will visit certain cathedrals in northern Greece with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.
Mr. Karamanlis termed Vartholomeos a symbol and leader of the Orthodox faith and said that Vartholomeos has the strength and faith to succeed in the difficult task he has to accomplish.
On Saturday afternoon, at the end of the European Democratic Union's summit, Mr. Karamanlis visited the Cathedral of Saint Sophia and afterwards the Top Kapi museum (the first palace of Ottoman sultans).
Mr. Karamanlis was due to return to Athens last night.
Source: Athens News Agency