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Turkey supports Macedonia’s NATO path June 29, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Turkey.
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Turkey will continue supporting Macedonia in its efforts to join NATO, and in every other way, visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told media in Skopje after meeting his host, Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, The Balkan Insight Web site reported.

“Turkey has been on Macedonia’s side since the day it declared independence and backs the country’s membership in NATO and other institutions under its constitutional name. This strong support will continue in the future,” Davutoğlu said.

Both ministers assessed that relations between the two countries are “more than friendly.” The ministers agreed to continue cooperation and share experiences in the bids of both countries to one day join the European Union. They committed to strengthening cultural and educational cooperation, and gave particular stress to improving economic relations.

Davutoğlu said that his government would encourage Turkish businessmen to invest in Macedonia in order to match the countries’ excellent political ties.

Speaking about Thursday’s meeting between Macedonian and Greek prime ministers in Brussels, which ended without visible progress, Foreign Minister Milososki complained that Greece was not showing enough pragmatism in its handling of the issue.

“It is obvious that our current [Greek] colleagues are willing to hold meetings for handshakes and for photo ops. Unfortunately, we still haven’t felt the moment of pragmatism to resolve the dispute,” Milososki said.

Skopje and Athens are locked in an almost two decade long spat over the use of the name Macedonia. Athens has effectively blocked Skopje from entering NATO and the EU until a solution to the dispute is reached. Greece claims that Skopje’s official name, Republic of Macedonia, implies territorial claims over its own northern province, which is also called Macedonia.

Macedonia, Milososki added, will continue to be friendly towards all of its neighbors, especially towards Greece, but stressed that it is crucial for the name issue to be settled as soon as possible.

Turkey, along with Russia, China, the United States, and some 120 other U.N. member states, have recognised Macedonia under it constitutional name.

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