Spain confused, Turkey insistent on peace Alliance

Spain confused, Turkey insistent on peace Alliance

MADRID - Anatolia News Agency
Spain confused, Turkey insistent on peace Alliance

Former Spanish PM Zapatero (L) and Turkish PM Erdoğan laugh Nov 13, 2006, during the meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations in Istanbul. AFP photo

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said he did not know what to do with the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, adding the value of continuing the initiative should be discussed.

However, Spain had not officially notified Ankara it could withdraw support from the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. “It’s an initiative to which Turkey attaches importance,” the official said, adding Turkey still embraces the process.

Don’t know what to do with alliance: Margallo

Responding to a question from Inaki Anasagasti from the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Margallo said “The Alliance of Civilizations seems not to have been planned in advance or in detail.” “If I do not know something I admit it, and I talk about my doubts if I have any. I don’t know what to do with the Alliance of Civilizations,” said Margallo, Anatolia News Agency reported. He added that he had rejected the initiative as “void” in 2004 when it was first introduced by then Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “Whether this is a good initiative that is worth to continuing should be discussed,” said Margalo, adding he would announce his opinion on this after returning from a meeting at the U.N.

The Alliance of Civilizations, established in 2005 as an initiative of Spain and Turkey under the auspices of the U.N., seeks to address tensions across cultural divides that threaten to inflame existing political conflicts or trigger new ones. As the Spanish government had not said they wanted to withdraw from the initiative, the Turkish official said, “We follow the statements of Spanish officials saying that they don’t own the Alliance of Civilizations initiative anymore.”

In April 2007, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jorge Sampaio, former president of Portugal, as high representative for the alliance. This marked the development of an implementation plan focusing on youth, media, education and migration projects.