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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Close Relations Are Needed Between European Union and Turkey

11.11.2011

No. 354-E

During his meeting in Tallinn today with Turkish Minister for European Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed Estonia’s support for the continuation of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union. “Turkey’s ongoing dedication to carrying out reforms that bring it closer to the European Union is the best way to move forward in the negotiation process,” Paet noted. “Necessary reforms and the implementation of approved laws will provide an opportunity to accede without extra conditions as soon as all the accession criteria have been fulfilled,” he added.

Turkish Minister for European Affairs Bagis gave an overview of the most recent developments in implementing Turkey’s reforms towards European integration. Foreign Minister Paet expressed hope that soon a new chapter would be opened in negotiations with Turkey. “Turkey is close to opening the chapter on competition policy, and opening the energy chapter would be positive as well,” he added. Paet said that the normalisation of Turkey-Cyprus relations is also a key component in Turkey’s road to accession.

Foreign Minister Paet feels that the European Union’s co-operation with Turkey in foreign policy issues is very important. “It is especially vital in the case of the current events in the Middle East and Northern Africa,” he added.

In talking about the visa dialogue between the European Union and Turkey, Paet noted that the European Union should implement visa waivers for its closest partners, and first in that line should be candidate countries like Turkey. “Along with a visa waiver agreement, the European Union and Turkey must also conclude a readmission agreement,” he added. Estonian citizens may visit Turkey without a visa.

During the meeting Paet expressed condolences for the families of those who died in the earthquake and aftershocks that took place in Turkey on 23 October and for all those who were affected by the natural disaster. “Estonia supported aid for the victims of the earthquake and work to clean up the aftermath of the disaster through the Turkish Red Crescent Organisation with 100 000 euros,” said Paet.

Paet also noted at the meeting that Estonia strongly condemns the terror attacks organised by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in south-east Turkey. “We believe that comprehensive international co-operation against terrorism is extremely important,” he noted.

In talking about bilateral relations, Paet noted that political, economic and cultural ties between Estonia and Turkey are thriving. Paet also expressed hope that a direct flight between Istanbul and Tallinn would be opened soon.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

 

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