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Turkey, Britain say bilateral ties at "golden age"

07-28-2010 08:52 BJT

ANKARA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Turkish and British prime ministers said Turkish-British ties were at "a golden age", highlighting the two countries' cooperation in economy, the Middle East issues and Turkey's European Union (EU) bid.

The two countries witness great opportunities of economic cooperation, and they can work together in many other issues like the Iranian nuclear issue and the Middle East peace process, visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron said at a press conference also attended by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cameron said "there's a shared vision between us, both believers in free enterprise, both believers in NATO and defense, both strongly wanting Turkey to become a full member of the European Union, both believing it's unfair that Turkey should be asked to guard the camp but not sit in the tent."

When addressing the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara earlier on Tuesday, Cameron said he will fight "passionately" for Turkey's EU membership.

A predominantly Muslim country, Turkey launched accession talks with the EU in October 2005, but progress was slow in the face of opposition from France and Germany and the Cyprus issue.

Erdogan expressed appreciation for Cameron's support for Turkey 's EU membership, saying there are intense political, economic, commercial and cultural talks between the two countries.

"This is the golden age of Turkey-UK relations," he said.

Trade volume between Turkey and Britain reached 13.5 billion U. S. dollars in 2008 but dropped to 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 because of the global financial crisis, Erdogan told reporters.

Speaking of Iran's nuclear issue, Cameron noted both Britain and Turkey do not want Iran to get nuclear weapons, saying Turkey plays a crucial diplomatic role in achieving that purpose.

Erdogan stressed Turkey's stance against nuclear weapons in the region and its support for a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue.

He criticized Israel implicitly, saying that some countries are saying "we have nuclear weapons, but you can't have nuclear weapons."

Cameron said he wanted Turkey and Israel to continue to be friends, while urging Israel to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and direct talks to be held between Israel and the Palestinians.

Cameron, accompanied by Foreign Secretary William Hague, arrived in Turkey on Monday for a two-day formal visit.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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