7 JUN 2011
President Abdullah Gül has said Turkey's accession to the European Union is a strategic imperative for the European integration project, which he said will no doubt increase the 27-nation bloc's efficiency, relevance and credibility.
The president's remark came as he was speaking to students at the College of Europe at Natolin, Poland, during his trip to the European Union member state on Monday.
He said the EU with Turkey will be much more influential in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Caucasus and the Middle East, adding that Turkey's accession to the EU will only help Europe find the role it deserves in this newly emerging global order.
He said Turkey has much to contribute to the EU so that it would not turn into what he warned earlier to be "an inward-looking organization" with its global influence and strategic outreach ending at the borders of its members.
The president said an EU including Turkey will be more successful in dealing with both external and internal threats to Europe's security, and whatever challenges Europe may face, Turkey is a partner.
He stressed that Turkey seeks to establish peace, stability and security in the Middle East and North Africa and to assist these countries in their transition to democracy.
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