Press Conferences

28. 1. 2008 17:08

Press Conference of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the negotiation of delegations of the Czech Republic and the Turkish Republic. Let me welcome here the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Mirek Topolánek. I ask the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic for his introductory speech.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Dear Prime Minister, dear journalists, dear members of delegations. I must say that we had been preparing the visit of the Prime Minister Erdogan as early as in the previous term of office. I was about to leave for Turkey but there were elections in Turkey, and in our country, too. Number of common interests bonds us; not only commercial interests but also strategic interests bond us. Our membership in such organization like the NATO bonds us as well. Bilateral relationships with Turkey are without problems. Our mutual trade exchange has grown fourfold during last five years. The relationships are very dynamic and very successful. We were debating not only matters which bond us, but also matters which are ahead of us. The Czech Republic is a long-standing supporter of Turkish efforts to access to the EU. We are of the opinion that no other form whether it is a privileged partnership or the participation in the Mediterranean Union or other form of partnership cannot substitute full membership in the EU. We are aware of all problems on the way, we are aware of problems both in Turkey and in the European Union, but we are of the opinion that the accession of Turkey to the EU is the only one way of connecting these civilization circles. We discussed number of issues, opportunities of cooperation in the sphere of culture; re-opening of Turcology at the Charles´ University, we discussed the exhibition of Hittite art, we discussed business relationships, armaments industry, energy industry and other spheres which bond us and where we can help each other. I think I give the floor now to the Prime Minister Erdogan.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic: Dear Prime Minister, dear representatives of media. Thank you. I would like to express my pleasure to be here at my first state visit in this friendly country based on the invitation of a dear colleague of mine, the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. I would also like to express my thanks for worm and friendly welcome of both me and my delegation. Turkey regards the Czech Republic not only as a friend in Europe, but also as a partner and an ally in the Euro-Atlantic region. Our states share common global values. They are states which have similar objectives – to reach stability and development. Relationships between Turkish Republic and the Czech Republic are based just on this firm basis. In particular, I would like to thank our Czech partners and friends that during the last five-year period of time they supported us in our accession process and in accession negotiations. Our talks with the Prime Minister in strict confidence and talks of delegations were very fecund and successful. We were talking about developing our bilateral relationships. We had an opportunity to assess our cooperation in the political, military, economic, cultural, and social sphere. There is no political problem between our two countries. Our relationships are without problems, and our chest is swelling with our growth in the economic and commercial sphere. But is it enough? No, it is not. We would like to enhance the cooperation and to reach better figures. Our mutual trade exchange which was at the amount of 260 million dollars in 2000, amounted to 1,1 billion dollars in 2006. Only during the first eight months of this year we reached 1 billion dollars. Thus we can expect that we will reach the trade exchange at the amount of 1,5 billion dollars by the end of this year. This is a very positive development. To support our relationships, we will begin in a minute a meeting of our entrepreneur council. We had an opportunity to create a platform for the meeting of our entrepreneurs for common investments. I will participate in this Turkish-Czech Entrepreneur Council together with my dear colleague, with the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. There we will have an opportunity to express our effort for common progress. We had an opportunity to talk about local and global events. We shared our opinions regarding the international terrorism. We found out with pleasure that our views on the international stability, development and peace were nearly the same. I wish this visit created further milestone in the development of our relationships and I thank you for your attention.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. Now, there is time for your questions. I just want to point out that owing to the lack of time there is time for one question from the Czech side and one question from the Turkish side.
Coskuán Özen, TRT: I would like to ask the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek –as you certainly know Turkey has been exposed to terrorist threat for a long time. How do you assess the cross-border operation of Turkish military forces from the point of view of reaching stability and peace in this region?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: This is an issue which we discussed with the Prime Minister. I think that no country on the territory of which the Kurdish minority lives, is interested in the formation of the great dream, the great Kurdistan. Neither the north part of Iraq is interested in it, where Bárzání represents this part directly in the Iraqi government. Signs of terrorism are the same throughout the world, and it is necessary to fight against it. I perceive sensibility of the Turkish-Iraqi boundary. I must say that I am not pleased that such epicentres of tension arise. But I have a feeling that both the Prime Minister Erdogan and the Prime Minister Bárzání are able to solve the problem.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you; is there any further question? So, the last question, please.
A Turkish journalist: Prime Minister, I have a question to you. You quoted in your statement that you support full membership of Turkey in the EU during your presidency to the EU in 2009. What concrete steps of support can you render? You mentioned that you are not a supporter of integration of the Mediterranean Union or similar organizations.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I am afraid I have never said that Turkey would become a member state of the EU by the first half of 2009. I think that in the first half of 2009, during the Czech presidency, we will be able to intensify negotiation talks; we will be able to discuss the individual chapters far more intensively just because of the fact that the Czech Republic is interested in it. The Mediterranean Union is a project, which is not supported by number of Mediterranean countries, and therefore, in this sense it is just a French idea. Number of countries, including Spain, is of the opinion that the Barcelona Process is enough for Mediterranean countries. There exists a speculation that just the Mediterranean Union could fully substitute full membership of Turkey in the EU just through the membership in this block. I have nothing against regional organizations, but the Mediterranean Union cannot substitute efforts for full membership of Turkey in the EU, as I have already stated. Thank you.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you for your attention and good-bye.

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