Foreign Minister Ismail Cem
Speech on Terrorism
"12th Armed Forces and Society Forum"
October 3, 2001

Foreign Minister ismail Cem calls Turkey for the First time as a 'front line country' concerning the possible war against terrorism, and recalled the huge loss to the country because of the Gulf War.

Continuing his meetings in Germany, Cem participated in the "12th Armed Forces and Society Forum" organized by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

In his speech in the forum. Cem asserted that Turkey is a "front line country" which suffered huge losses during the Gulf War, adding: "Our international politics and tourism have suffered as well as our economy. Now we are a front line country again, after the terrorist attacks in the United States."

Cooperation between NATO and ESDP a must

Cem said Turkey has some problems, however none of them unsolvable, Cem added:

"Turkey must be included in the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). The problem is not that Turkey is not a member of the European Union. Another way of cooperation can be found with Turkey, who is already a NATO ally. The cooperation between NATO and ESDP is a must."

Stressing the importance of security for Turkey in the Balkans, the Caucasians and in Mid-Asia, Cem said, '"What we've tried to do after Sept. 11, is to provide security of Europe, even the United Nations in Afghanistan."

Cem also recalled that 11 of the 17 conflict zones in the world is around Turkey, which makes Turkey adopt a new role and responsibility, considering the historical relations with the countries in these regions in particular.

Cem also noted that the political methods are as crucial as the military methods in the struggle against terrorism. Cem added that national interests must be left aside in favour international cooperation.

Another issue pointed out by Cem was the ambiguity on the definition of terrorism. Cem gave the case of Israel as an example: "This country is facing a terror coming from Lebanon. However, Lebanon comprehends is struggle as a fight against the invaders."

Turkish and Greek Ministers support campaign

Both Cem and his Greek counterpart Papandreou underlined their support for the international campaign against terrorism after separate meetings with their German counterpart.

Germany's Joschka Fischer met in Berlin with Cem and later with George Papandreou to discuss the West's response to the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

In brief statements after the meetings, all three reiterated their support for the drive to stamp out international terrorism, and emphasized the need to solve regional conflicts as well as bringing violent extremists to justice.

Fischer said Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO, could have an important role in solving regional conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Cem told the press that he informed his German counterpart on his recent meetings with senior US. officials in Washington and expressed his satisfaction on recent EU decisions concerning terrorism.

Both leaders have emphasized the need to rekindle peace talks between Israel and Palestine as part of a long-term plan to stamp out extremism.