Erdogan thanks Slovakia for its support for Turkey's EU bid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is paying an official visit to Slovakia, called his host, Prime Minister Robert Fico, a friend who supports Turkey on its path to the European Union, the SITA newswire wrote.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is paying an official visit to Slovakia, called his host, Prime Minister Robert Fico, a friend who supports Turkey on its path to the European Union, the SITA newswire wrote.

He expressed hope that Fico's successes on the Slovak political scene will never end. Fico said that Slovakia believes that access negotiations between Turkey and the EU need a new stimulus. Erdogan confirmed that Turkey will continue its efforts to enter the European Union but in the future a moment will probably come when it will have to tell itself enough is enough. Erdogan, however, thanked Fico for Slovakia's support.

Fico stressed than no unsolved political issues exist between Bratislava and Ankara and, on the contrary, all the necessary conditions exist for intensifying economic cooperation. Fico reported that they agreed to develop all efforts to liberalise the visa duty in compliance with Schengen rules and Turkish legislation.

Relations between Slovakia and Turkey are excellent, but there is still scope for growth in trade exchange, Fico and Erdogan concurred at a Slovak-Turkish economic forum on Wednesday, the TASR newswire wrote. "We're on friendly terms with Turkey, support its efforts to join the European Union, and support the reforms that are being adopted by Turkey as part of criteria of the accession process," said Fico. Bilateral trade between the two countries has increased 11-fold over the past 10 years to €1.6 billion annually. This is still below the real trade potential of the two countries, however, said Fico.

Fico sees scope for co-operation especially in the energy sector. He offered his Turkish counterpart Slovak know-how in nuclear energy, and praised Ankara's decision to build two nuclear power plants. Fico also noted that Slovak companies are able to offer technologies in the spheres of IT and engineering. Erdogan said that he believes that the volume of mutual trade will increase to €5 billion per year by 2015.

Sources: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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