Official: Turkey to play key role in Balkans if accepted to EU

Türkiye Materials 20 April 2008 05:13 (UTC +04:00)

( Xinhua ) - If accepted to the European Union, Turkey would play an important role in the currently unstable Balkans, local press reported Saturday citing Bulgarian EU Affairs Minister Gergana Grancharova.

The statement was made at the opening of the international conference entitled "Scenarios for Turkey's (Non)-Accession to the EU: Prospects and Consequences," held in Sofia on the initiative of Open Society Foundation.

Gruncharova argued that as far as Turkey and its European prospect is concerned, Bulgaria as a member of the EU has always stated its political position clearly.

" Bulgaria is directly interested in Turkey's accession to the block as that way it would have a powerful and reformed neighboring country," the minister explained.

In her view, Europe and thus Bulgaria have a long-term strategic interest in keeping and safeguarding Turkey's European prospect.

" Turkey is engaged in the dialogue with Iran and is a significant part of the energy roads from Central Asia to Europe," she added.

"It would be dangerous if Turkey remains isolated and far away from its European perspective," Grancharova said.

The minister emphasized she based her opinion on a sociological survey that showed 42 percent of the Turkish citizens believe in the EU future of their country.

Meanwhile, Grunchariva said that Turkey need to work to solve all disputes with its neighbors and to accelerate the pace of reforms, and the prospect for membership in the EU is a proven and also the strongest drive for the completion of the reforms in Turkey.