Holding a joint press conference with President Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, President Erdoğan said: “I am glad to point out that we share the same sensitivities on a wide range of regional and international issues that are of close concern to our countries. We are of the opinion that the Turkey-Croatia-Bosnia Herzegovina Trilateral Advisory Mechanism should be revitalized.”
“There is a strong cooperation between Turkey and Croatia, our ally, in many areas”.
Expressing his pleasure to host President Grabar-Kitarović and her delegation once again in Turkey, President Erdoğan said: “There is a strong cooperation between Turkey and Croatia, our ally, in many areas, first and foremost in the Balkans, our shared geography.” Stating that their tête-à-tête, during which he and his Croatian counterpart reviewed regional developments as well as bilateral relations, was very productive and beneficial, President Erdoğan noted that they reaffirmed the shared will for elevating the economic and trade relations between Turkey and Croatia to a level that reflects their true potential, and added: “I am glad to point out that we share the same sensitivities on a wide range of regional and international issues that are of close concern to our countries. We are of the opinion that the Turkey-Croatia-Bosnia Herzegovina Trilateral Advisory Mechanism should be revitalized.”
“Croatia is one of the biggest supporters of Turkey’s EU membership progress”
Underlining that Croatia has always been one of the biggest supporters of Turkey with regard to its European Union membership process, President Erdoğan expressed his belief that this support will increase during Croatia’s EU Presidency it will assume in the second term of 2020. Also drawing attention to the delicate period the EU is going through due to the Brexit issue, President Erdoğan continued: “We are closely following the Brexit process and discussions. Our dialogues continue in order for our trade and economic relations with the United Kingdom not to be adversely affected in the face of a potential Brexit. We are also in touch with our counterparts to take necessary measures that will protect our citizens’ rights emanating from the Turkey-EU Association Law.”
“Total value of the Turkish investments in Croatia has reached €350 million”
Stressing that he agreed with his Croatian counterpart to boost the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, President Erdoğan noted that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Croatia, which reached 531 million dollars in 2017, surpassed 575 million dollars as of November 2018, and that they have neared the goal of the one-billion-dollar bilateral trade volume. Pointing out that thanks to President Grabar-Kitarović’s strong support to the Turkish entrepreneurs in Croatia, the total value of the Turkish investments there has reached 350 million euros, President Erdoğan added that the value of the projects undertaken by the Turkish contractors in Croatia has exceeded 610 million dollars.
“The Dayton Agreement has to be reviewed”
Answering reporters’ questions following his remarks, President Erdoğan, in response to a question regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that it has been clear that the Dayton Agreement, in its current state, fails to produce a solution with regard to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that it has to be reviewed. In this regard, the United Nations should step in again and a much more effective step should be taken, the President added.
“We stand ready to fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria, Daesh in particular”
In answer to a question as to whether the issue of recollecting the weapons, which the U.S. handed out to the terrorists in Syria, came up in his phone call with U.S. President Trump, President Erdoğan said the issue that they mainly focused on in the conversation was the withdrawal of the U.S. soldiers and the possible joint steps Turkey and the U.S. might take concerning the withdrawal.
Drawing attention to Turkey’s sensitivity with regard to the 20 mile-deep safe zone in Syria, President Erdoğan underlined that Turkey stands ready to fulfill every responsibility that falls to it and to fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria, DAESH in particular.
“Turkey received 300 thousands Kurds as a guest from Kobane alone”
Also touching upon the speculations to the effect that Turkey has different motives towards the Kurds, President Erdoğan noted that these speculations are totally trumped-up, and emphasized that Turkey received 300 thousand Kurds as a guest from Kobane alone.
Pointing out that a bomb attack on patrolling troops in Manbij today claimed 20 lives, five of them U.S. soldiers, President Erdoğan informed that DAESH claimed responsibility for the attack.
Describing the attack as a possible attempt to influence the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria, President Erdoğan said: “However, since I have seen Mr. Trump’s determination on this issue, I believe that he will not take a step back in the face of such acts of terror because such a back step would amount to a victory on the part of DAESH.”
Further stressing that Turkey will resolutely continue its works with regard to the 20 mile-deep safe zone, President Erdoğan underlined that Turkey’s goal is to secure peace and calm in that area and to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Kitarovic: “Croatia will continue to support Turkey on road to EU membership”
President Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, on her part, stated that Croatia will continue to support Turkey on the road to EU membership, and drew attention to the critical role Turkey plays regarding the refugees. Also expressing her pleasure over the increase in the annual trade volume between the two countries, President Grabar-Kitarović praised the bilateral relations as excellent./IBNA