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Erdoğan: Turkey strongly supports Albania’s EU bid

April 7, 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha in his office in Ankara. The two leaders talked about military, economic and diplomatic ties during the meeting. Erdoğan stated that he intends to visit Albania as soon as possible, following a three-year absence. (Photo: AA)
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who paid a two-day visit to Turkey, praised the role Turkey plays in international politics while attending a joint business forum in Ankara on Friday and said that the historical ties between the two countries are a source of inspiration for new economic investment.

The Albanian prime minister held several talks with Turkish officials to boost economic relations between the two regional allies in the volatile Balkans. Attending the Turkish-Albanian business forum held in Ankara in the twin towers of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) on Friday, Berisha praised Turkish economic success and addressed the need to make further investments to unlock the potential for economic relations. He said trade volume had surged nine times since 2005 between Turkey and Albania. Berisha urged Turkish businessmen to invest in Albania, citing the favorable conditions for foreign investment. Those who invest in Albania will be free of taxes for eight years, he stated.

Berisha said Turkey had been an advocate of human rights in international politics. “Turkey played a significant role for the recognition of Kosovo’s independence in the international arena. Turkey also made a significant contribution to the political stability in Macedonia,” he noted.

Meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who also attended the same forum with the Albanian prime minister, emphasized the strong ties between Turkey and Albania, saying that the strategic partnership between the two countries in the Balkans is of grave importance to promote peace and stability in the volatile region.

In addition, Babacan noted that while bilateral trade 10 years ago was around $84 million, it was $397 million in 2011. The Free Trade Agreement, which took into effect in 2008, had made an enormous contribution to the flourishing of economic ties, Babacan stated. Despite all these developments, however, the current state of relations is far from satisfactory and falls short of the real potential, the deputy prime minister commented.

Turkey supports Albania’s EU bid

On the first day of his visit, he met with his Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the office of Prime Minister in Ankara. Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with his Albanian counterpart after the meeting, Erdoğan said Turkey strongly supports the European Union membership of Albania, Turkey’s NATO ally. Prime Minister Erdoğan said he had had very fruitful talks with Berisha. Regional issues, bilateral relations, military, economic and diplomatic ties were all touched on during the meeting between the leaders. Erdoğan openly reiterated Turkey’s strong backing of Albanian’s full membership of the EU. Erdoğan said he intends to visit Albania as soon as possible following a three-year absence.

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