No: 126 October 1st, 2004, EU-OIC Joint Forum

Turkey,  has acted with the  understanding that  undesired events and  the resulting misperceptions  witnessed within  the international context during the course of the last few years  would be overcome  by means of keeping the channels of communication open and by  further  strengthening of the means of such channels.  Towards this end,  Turkey has hosted the “EU-OIC Joint Forum” which brought together  the  members, observes and candidate countries  of the Organization of  Islamic Conference and of the  European Union on 12 – 13 February 2002.

 During the EUROMED meeting which was held in Napels on November 2003,   in  accordance with a proposal that was put forth  by a number of  EU Foreign Ministers which was also supported on  bilateral level, a consensus was reached to reorganize the said Forum in İstanbul  which  was considered as extremely useful. 

Following this development our Government in  consultation with the EU and the OIC took the  decision to host the second session of the Forum, on  4-5 October 2004 in Istanbul. Over the past few months an extensive  amount of effort  has been carried as regards the organizational aspect and the intellectual content of this meeting.

However, the Dutch EU Presidency  informed us on the evening of 30 September of its decision not to participate to the Forum and about its invitation extended to other members to also comply with this decision  under the pretext of the representational  status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus under observer  title of the “Turkish Cypriot State”  as at   OIC.    We  understand that that the  Government of the Greek Cypriot Administration has spent  intensive effort to influence other members of  the EU to act in the direction of its  own views.

In order to prevent such an outcome, considerable effort and practical proposals in accordance with international precedent has been put forth by Turkey. Within this framework, a proposal that a statement could be made by the EU or Turkey emphasizing that the participation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the Forum under the aforementioned status, would not imply a recognition on the part of the EU  was also not accepted by the Dutch EU Presidency. Furthermore, the Dutch Presidency was reminded that Turkey did not make an  issue of the situation even though under the same circumstances the Greek Cypriot Administration was invited both to the previous Forum and the current one.

The Dutch Presidency’s decision not to take part in the Forum which  did not have a political aim but rather had the goal   of providing an opportunity to discuss the  political, economic and cultural dimensional mechanisms of creating a  world public opinion that  promotes harmony and cooperation amongst different cultures and religions  and it’s call on other EU member states to act in the  same line  has led to the cancellation of the part of the Forum bringing  together the Minister’s of Foreign Affairs.  The “Civilization and Harmony: The Values and Order of the Global Order International Symposium” that was foreseen to take place with the participation of academicians, intellectuals and journalists prior to  the Forum will take place as planned.

We are  regretful  that  this important initiative that had the objective of contributing to world peace and dialogue between civilizations and cultures was impeded by an irrelevant issue that had nothing to do with its  substance. Taking this opportunity, we would like  to express our gratitude to all EU and OIC countries that envisaged high level  representation  at the meeting.