Turkish PM Erdogan Puts Off Bulgaria Visit till 2010 End

Diplomacy | September 7, 2010, Tuesday // 17:29|  views

Outgoing Turkish Ambassador to Bulgaria Mehmet Gucuk. Photo by BGNES

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Bulgaria by the end of the year, outgoing Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Gucuk announced Tuesday.

Ambassador Gucuk delivered a lecture in the Sofia Sheraton Hotel dedicated to the completion of his term of office in Bulgaria.

He explained that Turkey's PM Erdogan had planned to visit Bulgaria in September but that the referendum on constitutional amendments scheduled for September 12, 2010, had made him postpone his plans.

Erdogan will most likely visit Sofia in December 2010 which is when the first sitting ever of the Bulgarian-Turkish intergovernmental council will take place.

The new format of bilateral ministerial meetings was agreed upon during Bulgarian PM Borisov's visit to Ankara in January 2010.

Top issues on the agenda of the meeting will be the construction of a new water reservoir on the Tundzha River as well as the compensations for the descendants of the Bulgarian refugees who fled European Turkey in the 1910-1920s escaping atrocities and repressions.

In his lectured in Sofia Tuesday, Ambassador Gucuk declared that Turkey's potential EU membership will be useful to all European countries.

He pointed out that Turkey is the 6th largest economy in Europe and 60% of its trade is with the EU.

In his words, it is no problem for Ankara to meet the Copenhagen Criteria for EU membership.

"The day will come when Turkey will have to execute all requirements of EU law but this will be a different Turkey. I believe that Europe will be different as well," His Excellency said.

He made it clear that the Ankara authorities viewed the Turkish minority in Bulgaria as "a bridge" between the two countries.

"We believe that the better they serve the interests of the Bulgarian nation, the better they can fulfill their function as a bridge," he stated.

The President of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria Solomon Passy described Turkey as one of the geopolitical giants of the 21st century, and pointed out that it is opening 15 new embassies in Africa for investment purposes at a time when other nations are closing theirs.

He underscored the fact that Turkey is one of the few countries with which Bulgaria has a positive trade balance, and emphasized the importance of Turkish investments.

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Tags: turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister, Turkish Ambassador, Mehmet Gucuk, EU, Turkey EU membership, Solomon Passy, Atlantic club in Bulgaria


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