Pahor and Erdogan discuss cooperation, Ukraine, W Balkans
Ankara – President Borut Pahor met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan before wrapping up his two-day trip to Ankara on Wednesday. The presidents confirmed that relations between Slovenia and Turkey were good and friendly. They talked about the war in Ukraine and the Western Balkans, agreeing on a meeting in September.
At their joint press conference, Pahor said he would meet with Erdogan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in late September to discuss Western Balkans.
Before that Erdogan is set to visit Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, while Pahor will be hosting the annual Brdo-Brijuni Summit on 12 September, the Slovenian president said.
He finds it important that Erdogan does not underestimate problems of the Western Balkans, which many others do not see due to the war in Ukraine.
“The Western Balkans deserves peace, security and prosperity and a European future,” he underlined. “Brussels is too hesitant in this regard, it does not view this as a top political issue.”
Pahor also said Slovenia appreciated Turkey’s efforts to act as mediator between Ukraine and Russia.
He reiterated his statement from yesterday’s meeting of Turkey’s diplomats, praising Erdogan for not proposing peace at any cost but focusing on helping in a way to avoid suffering of ordinary people until an opportunity arises for peaceful dialogue.
He also thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s willingness for a compromise as regards Finland and Sweden joining NATO. “We both wish that NATO meets the expectations of our people, protects security and contributes to peace and security around the world,” said the Slovenian president.
He noted that this was his 18th meeting with Erdogan, having met him for the first time in 2011, when they signed a strategic partnership agreement.
Back then, the then prime ministers of their respective countries set a goal to boost trade between Slovenia and Turkey, underlining today that trade has more than doubled since then.
Pahor acknowledged that Ankara’s and Ljubljana’s positions vary on a number of issues, saying that the countries were trying to overcome their differences. Dialogue must be strived for, he said, adding that the majority of Slovenian public approved of Slovenia’s relations with Turkey.
The presidents made a special point today of good economic cooperation between their countries and expressed the wish for an even closer cooperation.
Pahor praised Turkish construction companies building the Karavanke tunnel and a new rail track to Koper port in Slovenia for being professional and dedicated. “Deadlines are respected, agreed prices are respected and the highest standards are upheld.”
Pahor started his visit to Ankara by meeting Foreign Minister Mavlüt Cavusoglu and addressing the annual meeting of Turkish diplomats on Tuesday.
Today, he laid a wreath at the tomb of the founder of the modern Turkish state Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and took part in a business round table debate.
Following the meeting of the two presidents, Pahor attended a formal dinner hosted by Erdogan.
A bilateral agreement on education, science and sports was also signed in Ankara today.
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