Gül satisfied with Czech support for EU .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - After meeting with his Czech Republic counterpart in Prague yesterday, President Abdullah Gül expressed his satisfaction with the support extended by President Vaclav Klaus to Turkey's European Union membership process.

"Turkey is determined to further improve its political, economic and commercial relations with the Czech Republic," Gül said at the meeting of the Turkish-Czech Business Council.

"Both Turkey and the Czech Republic have made significant economic progress recently and are among the countries least affected by the global crisis," Gül added. "Trade volume between Turkey and the Czech Republic increased to $2 billion in 2008, from $260 million in 2000. There have been especially encouraging investments in the sectors of energy, medicine, tourism and construction."

For his part, Czech Republic President Klaus said he very selfishly favored Turkey becoming a member of the EU because Turkey's accession would further strengthen both the EU and its economy.

Normalization with Armenia

President Gül meanwhile said a possible accord to normalize ties between Turkey and Armenia would benefit Azerbaijan and stabilize the entire Caucasus region, reported the Associated Press.

Turkey announced last week that the two countries, bitterly divided over Ottoman-era killings of ethnic Armenians, had agreed on a road map for normalizing relations and reaching reconciliation.