18:55 / 17.06.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

PM Plenković meets with Turkish President

Prime Minister Plenković and Turkish President Erdogan

Prime Minister Plenković and Turkish President Erdogan

Foto: HTV / HRT

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković held a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Anatalya, where Turkey is hosting the leaders of countries participating in the South-East European Cooperation Process.

The two leaders focused on bilateral cooperation, economic cooperation, and relations between Turkey and the EU, said Plenković.

“The main topic was relations between Croatia and Turkey, with whom we have had a very good and friendly relationship over the past 30 years. We have been building this relationship through political dialogue but also through economic cooperation, trade, and investment. There are many Turkish companies doing business in Croatia. Of course, we also discussed the political situation in Europe, the rest of the world, and in South-East Europe,” the PM said.

The two leaders also discussed illegal migration and how to curb it. Turkey has played an important role in stopping the flow of migrants into the EU by taking in millions of them, under a deal struck between Turkey and the bloc in 2016.

Another issue raised at the meeting was the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Turkey has substantial influence. Prime Minister Plenković reiterated Croatia's position as an advocate for the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

" I stressed that it was particularly important to Croatia that all three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain equal, especially Croats, since they are the least populous of the three. Also, within the process of reaching an agreement between the political parties and institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is important that a consensus is achieved on reforming electoral legislation. I have asked for Turkey's support on this issue,” he said.

The South-East European Cooperation Process meeting on Thursday will close Turkey's presidency over the initiative and pass the baton to Greece on July 1. Leaders taking part in the meeting are expected to adopt a strategy until 2030 and issue a joint declaration. They will also be discussing issues related to the pandemic, managing migration flows, and security. The declaration is expected to affirm the vision of a future in NATO and the EU for South-East Europe and include commitments to furthering regional cooperation and interconnectivity, and spurring economic growth.

The initiative was launched in 1996 by Bulgaria and includes 13 countries in the region.

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