Queen Beatrix’s first visit to Turkey has gathered considerable interest in the Turkish papers with several carrying front page photos of the queen. The English-language Turkish Daily News reported that during her talks with president Ahmet Sezer, the queen urged Turkey to proceed with EU-backed reforms, saying that both Turkey and the EU depend on each other.
In a speech at a gala dinner last night, the queen spoke of the long history between the two countries and the efforts Turkey was making to reform so that it can join the EU.
‘The many efforts in so many fields that your country has made under your leadership in recent years to enable Turkey to achieve its goal are truly impressive,’ Queen Beatrix said.
According to the Volkskrant, the queen’s tone was cooler than when she met Sezer in 2001. This reflects the views of new foreign minister Maxime Verhagen, the paper said.
On Wednesday the queen is in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri, where many of the Netherlands’ 350,000-strong Turkish community come from. Prince Willem Alexander and princess Maxima are staying in Ankara to attend a meeting on intercultural dialogue. On Thursday the royal party will be in Istanbul.
Turkish newspaper Hürriyet quotes sources as saying that the royal party has taken Dutch soil with them, in case Maxima, who is seven months pregnant, goes into premature labour. By tradition, a Dutch prince or princess must first touch Dutch soil, the paper says.
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