Turkey supports Macedonia's NATO bid
Turkey President Abdullah Gul said on Sunday his country would continue its support of Macedonia's NATO accession efforts which were thwarted by Greece over name dispute, reported People Daily Online.
Macedonia's NATO membership was blocked by Greece over a 17-year-long name dispute between the two countries earlier last month at a NATO summit in Romania.
Athens has been opposed to its neighbor being called the "Republic of Macedonia," arguing it implies a territorial claim over a Greek northern province also called Macedonia.
"I am convinced that a solution would be found very soon and Macedonia will become a NATO member, followed by its EU accession," Gul said at a joint press conference with his Macedonian counterpart Branko Crvenkovski.
Gul is on a state visit to Macedonia, and attended the central European summit at Ohrid in southern Macedonia, at which leaders from 19 central and southeastern European countries called for swift EU enlargement to include western Balkan countries and Turkey.
Crvenkovski thanked Gul for Turkey's support of Macedonia's aspirations to join NATO, of which Turkey is a member.
"Regardless of the unsatisfactory result of the Bucharest Summit, Macedonia remains fully committed to that goal, and Turkey's support in this regard will be of great significance," said Crvenkovski.
Both presidents stressed that the two countries are enjoying good cooperation fields of politics, security, education, culture and health, and agreed that economic cooperation should be intensified in the upcoming period.