Tuesday

7th Jul 2020

EU hopes for Turkey to build bridges in cartoon conflict

The current Austrian EU presidency has invited Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul to present ideas at an informal so-called "Gymnich" meeting in Salzburg next month on how to improve relations after the Mohammed cartoon conflict, which has sharpened tensions between Europe and the muslim world.

"The Turkish foreign minister has been invited to open a discussion on this theme at a meeting of foreign ministers on 11 March," Austrian presidency spokesman Nikola Johannes Donig said, according to Danish daily Politiken.

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  • Turkey - to play new role as conflict mediator? (Photo: EUobserver)

Mr Gul is also expected to shed light on the so-called "Alliance of Civilisations" plan.

The initiative for an "Alliance of Civilisations" was launched by UN secretary general Kofi Annan in July 2005 to bridge divides and overcome prejudice that potentially threatens world peace.

The call for an alliance was initiated by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, and co-sponsored by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

The group is expected to present a report with recommendations and a practical plan of action in late 2006 including a trust fund set up to finance the initiative and a high-level group of eminent persons to guide the scheme.

Turkey in new role

Turkish interest in helping solve the Middle East conflict and other disputes between the west and the muslim world has lately been on the rise.

Ankara last week accepted a visit from Palestinian Hamas leaders, who are still on the EU's list of terror suspects.

"Turkey's importance was better understood by the world after the cartoon row, but several circles in Turkey failed to perceive this importance," Mr Gul recently told a party rally, reported by Turkish daily Zaman.

He accused those criticising the Hamas visit of "ignoring their country's power and being oblivious to history."

Eminent women appeal for EU help on Palestine

West Bank annexation "was conceived almost entirely by men" and will crush the "dignity and rights" of Palestinian women still further, a group of 40 women leaders have said.

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Four years after the killing of an Italian activist in Cairo, Italian cities are mobilising to highlight the fate of Patrick Zaki, imprisoned since February for "inciting protest through his Facebook profile".

France and Turkey fracture Nato on Libya

Nato is to investigate French allegations that Turkish warships targeted a French one in a confrontation over the Libya conflict, which has divided allies.

New Cairo activist case prompts wave of Italy demos

Four years after the killing of an Italian activist in Cairo, Italian cities are mobilising to highlight the fate of Patrick Zaki, imprisoned since February for "inciting protest through his Facebook profile".

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