Prime Minister Jüri Ratas assured Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yıldırım and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara today that Turkey is an important strategic partner for Estonia, and the fact that it would remain on the European course is the desire of both Estonia and the rest of the European Union.
The meeting with Prime Minister Yıldırım focused on the relations between Estonia and Turkey. “The relations between Estonia and Turkey are excellent and friendly. Our relations could be even closer, especially in the economy. I am glad that there are close air connections between Estonia and Turkey, the investments of Turkey in Estonia are increasing, however, there is certainly room for improvement in various fields,” Ratas said.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister visited the refugee camp near the border of Gaziantep and Syria. Ratas noted that as a former mayor he well understands the importance of international cultural and economic ties at the local level. “For example, Gaziantep company Akinal Senetik Tekstil decided to invest 20 million euros in the factory located in Loo this spring,” Ratas said. The sixth largest city in Turkey, Gaziantep, is also a partner city of Tartu.
The meeting with Prime Minister Yıldırım and President Erdoğan focused mainly on the topics of migration, especially the performance of the refugee agreement signed between the European Union and Turkey last year, which stopped the flow of migration to Europe through Turkey. Prime Minister Ratas recognised the heads of Turkey for the cooperation with Europe and their efforts in establishing a temporary living environment for refugees. The European Union supports Turkey in helping refugees with 3 billion euros.
The meeting also discussed the relations between the European Union and Turkey in a broader sense. Prime Minister Ratas told President Erdoğan that Estonia continues to support the expansion of the European Union. “The door of the European Union must remain open to those who share European values, respect the state based on the rule of law and fundamental rights, and meet all accession conditions,” the Prime Minister confirmed. “Turkey is an important strategic partner not only for Estonia but the entire European Union, and also Brussels wants to continue with negotiations with Turkey despite the differences. At the same time, we expect that Turkey would improve its relations with the member states of the European Union.”
The Prime Minister also discussed defence cooperation with the President of Turkey. “We are allies in NATO, and we similarly assess security threats in the European neighbourhood, but also in the world. In the fight against terrorism, we need to pay even more attention to counteraction in social media. We should exchange even more information and be able to react to threats in a quicker manner,” Ratas said.