Croatia will push for 'constructive EU-Turkey dialogue'

Croatia will push for 'constructive EU-Turkey dialogue'

Croatia will push for 'constructive EU-Turkey dialogue' Izvor: Ilustracija, Luka Stanzl/PIXSELL

As presiding country of the EU in the first half of 2020, Croatia will continue to push for a constructive dialogue between the EU and accession candidate Turkey, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Ankara on Wednesday.

"The European Union and Turkey must continue an open dialogue on many important topics. Croatia will certainly continue to push for a constructive dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and Turkey, and in that sense Turkey can rest assured that it will have a true mediator," he said at a press conference after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Grlic Radman said he informed Turkey of the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU, which include enlargement, "not just to the Western Balkans but to all candidate countries, including Turkey," which he added was an important international stakeholder and Croatia's strategic partner.

He said Southeast Europe must not remain a forgotten part of Europe as without that part of the continent, he added, Europe was not complete.

He said the two countries had very intensive cooperation at the highest level, very good relations without outstanding issues, and announced that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might visit Croatia again next autumn.

"Our political dialogue at the highest level is very dynamic," Grlic Radman said, recalling that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic visited Ankara in January 2016 and Erdogan Zagreb the following April.

"Just as we talked and agreed, we expect President Erdogan's visit to Zagreb at a time which will suit both countries. In the first six months (of 2020), we will have a very active presidency of the Council of the EU, so we planned that visit for the beginning of autumn, when Erdogan could open an Islamic Cultural Centre in Sisak."

Grlic Radman said he and Cavusoglu also talked about terrorism and migration, in which Croatia applauded "Turkey's important role."

"I told Minister Cavusoglu that Croatia highly appreciates the efforts Turkey is making in providing for more than four million Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees" as well as for the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking, he added.

"Croatia too is making big efforts on the Western Balkan route," Grlic Radman said, adding that another topic was the continuation of cooperation between Croatia, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. "A stable and functioning BiH which guarantees the equality of the three constituent peoples, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, is in both Croatia's and Turkey's interest."

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