Tánaiste meets Turkish Foreign Minister at start of 4-day trade mission to Turkey
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, T.D., met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Istanbul today at the start of a 4-day trade mission to Turkey.
The Tánaiste’s first visit to Turkey since taking up office aims to boost trade and to strengthen and deepen the strong links that exist between Ireland and Turkey. In addition to bilateral relations the Tánaiste briefed Foreign Minister Davutoğlu on the role Ireland’s EU Presidency is playing in moving forward EU accession negotiations with Turkey.
Speaking following the meeting, the Tánaiste commented:
“The surging export growth of both our countries over the past 10 years has positioned us as trading nations and global players. I hope that my visit this week will enhance our trading links and cooperation to our mutual benefit. Furthermore, the Irish Government has been a long-standing supporter of Turkey’s accession to the EU and we’ve committed ourselves to make every effort to see a negotiation chapter opened during Ireland’s EU Presidency”.
Ahead of his visit to a Syrian refugee camp in the south-east of Turkey tomorrow (Monday), the Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Davutoğlu discussed the humanitarian crisis there and the efforts of UN Special Envoy Brahimi to bring an end to the conflict.
“I commend Turkey on its hospitality and assistance to refugees from the Syrian conflict and assured the Foreign Minister of Ireland’s continued support to the refugees”.
The Tánaiste and the Foreign Minister also discussed other regional issues of concern including the Middle East Peace Process and the aftermath of the Arab Spring beyond Syria. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu briefed the Tánaiste on the commencement of a process of dialogue with the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan as part of efforts to end the conflict with the PKK. The Tánaiste assured the Foreign Minister of Ireland’s support for this dialogue and of our willingness to share lessons learned from the peace process in Northern Ireland.
The Tánaiste will continue his political engagements in Ankara on Tuesday where he will meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gül, and lead talks with key Turkish economic ministers as head of the Enterprise Ireland trade mission.