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Turkish President delivers opening remarks of Southeast European leaders summit

24. June 2010. | 10:30

Source: Anadolu

Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday opened a summit meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) after welcoming leaders at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday opened a summit meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) after welcoming leaders at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace.

Delivering a speech at the opening of the meeting, Gul said the Balkan region was an inseparable part of Europe, adding that Turkey was determined to "crown" common values it shared with the Balkan countries under the membership to the European Union.

"We consider the EU as a totality of values and a civilization project. I am sure that our roads will all cross under the umbrella of the European Union. And we are determined to march toward that goal," Gul told leaders from twelve SEECP member countries.

Gul said the countries of the southeast Europe expected to extend firm support for candidates on the their way to full membership and to avoid moves that would hinder their EU accession process.

"We need to make this region a home of mutual respect and tolerance, as it once was," Gul said.

Gul said SEECP member countries saw an unprecedented busy traffic of mutual visits by leaders over the past year, which strongly affirmed the region's solid orientation toward Europe and Euro-Atlantic institutions.

"I believe that the biggest step toward that goal has been the Serbian parliament's approval of a declaration that condemned the great suffering which happened fifteen years ago in Srebrenica," Gul said.

"It is not easy to overcome the trauma caused by the war in the former Yugoslavia but we are encouraged by the fact that new generations look to the future with great hope. We need to prove that our differences make us even richer and more united. We need to prove that we can learn from lessons of the past not conflict and enmity but friendship, solidarity and cooperation," Gul said.

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