Political debate about the visit of the Albanian PM in Turkey

Political debate about the visit of the Albanian PM in Turkey

Tirana, April 29, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

In Albania, the government and opposition have been involved in a political debate today, as a result of a one day visit that PM Edi Rama is holding in Turkey.

Officially, the Prime Minister’s office says that Rama has traveled to Istanbul to participate in the known public forum organized by “Fikir Sofrasi” (Table of Ideas).

The subject of this meeting is “The perspective of strategic partnership between Albania and Turkey in the domain of commerce and industry” and Rama is the guest of honor.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like something which must cause debates and what’s more, this visit follows the meetings of the recent days in Italy or Germany, to encourage foreign entrepreneurs interested to invest in Albania.

But the opposition sees this visit to Turkey differently.

Kreshnik Collaku, Democrat MP, suggests that Rama is in Istanbul to secretly negotiate a “bargain” for an important energy project.

“Rama is in the most luxurious hotels of Istanbul, but he’s not participating in an international conference, he’s participating in a secret negotiation, not at all transparent, with a Turkish consortium interested for the concession of the power plant of Skavica, one of the most important energy projects in the country with an extraordinary strategic importance in the domain of energy and as a result for the security of the country”, says Mr. Collaku.

He raises a question: “Why must the prime minister of the country hold such secret negotiations?” and “Has the opinion of the Turkish government been sought in relation to this consortium?”

The Prime Minister’s office considers the suggestion made by the opposition as defamation. “The time of middlemen who negotiated in the hotels of the world the assets of the Albanian people for the account of the family power, has come to an end on June 23, 2013”, reads the official reaction of the government.

The DP invites the prime minister to make full transparency of today’s visit in Istanbul and addresses a number of other questions for the government, suggesting suspicions for corruption.

Meanwhile, the government says that the visit has been coordinated by the general consulate of Albania to Istanbul and “the public will be informed through public information channels”.

This is followed by the DP warning: “If you choose to keep quiet, we will reveal to Albanians every dark and corruptive detail of this bargaining by the Prime Minister, at the detriment of public interests”.

Relations between Albania and Turkey seemed to strengthen after the arrival of the left in power and after Rama announced Turkey as a strategic partner. Official visits on a prime minister level were held at that time and a joint government meeting was decided to be held. Two years have gone by and these plans have been forgotten, while strategic partnership doesn’t seem to be active. /ibna/