Croatian President to Visit Turkey on Wednesday

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, January 16, 2019 – Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will pay a return state visit to Turkey on Wednesday at the invitation of her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her office said on Tuesday.

Grabar-Kitarović will begin the visit by laying a wreath at the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and with a working meeting with Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim. Her meeting with Erdogan will be followed by a meeting of the two countries’ delegations.

The two presidents will attend the signing of a programme of cooperation in culture and the arts for the 2019-21 period as well as a protocol of cooperation in the Sisak Islamic Cultural Centre Project between the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency and the Islamic Community of Croatia.

Grabar-Kitarović will wrap up her visit with a working dinner with her host, to which representatives of the Croatian community in Turkey have been invited.

Croatia and Turkey have very good relations, without outstanding issues, and this visit will be another opportunity to continue and strengthen dialogue at the highest level, Grabar-Kitarović’s office said.

Erdogan paid a state visit to Croatia in April 2016, attending a ceremony marking 100 years since the recognition of Islam’s equality with other religions in Croatia. Grabar-Kitarović paid a working visit to Turkey in January last year. She and Erdogan also met on the fringes of the UN General Assembly meeting last autumn.

In Zagreb, Erdogan said he was pleased with the integration of the Muslim community in Croatian society, stressing that Croatia was a praiseworthy example of coexistence of different faiths. He said that in contemporary societies it was necessary to cultivate cooperation, not a clash of civilisations.

Among other things, the two presidents will talk about boosting economic cooperation and stimulating investment. In Zagreb, Erdogan said trade between the two countries should amount to one billion dollars and that tourism, energy, finance and agriculture had potential for stronger cooperation.

According to Croatian data, Croatia-Turkey trade amounted to 486.8 million dollars in 2017, of which 171.6 million dollars were Croatian exports, up 40% on 2016. In the first ten months of 2018, trade was 427 million dollars, Grabar-Kitarović’s office said. In 2015, trade was 348.8 million dollars.

The two presidents will also talk about the situation in the Middle East, in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement that US troops will pull out of Syria.

They will also talk about the situation in Southeast Europe, with which Turkey has strong historical ties and where it has made major investments, including the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo.

Croatia will reiterate its support to Turkey on its European Union journey given that Turkey is one of Europe’s main security and economic partners.

Grabar-Kitarović said in Ankara last year that Croatia was especially grateful to Turkey for caring for millions of refugees from the Middle East and for honouring the 2016 agreement with the EU which made it possible to stop the refugee flow across the Balkans.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Turkey can be found in the Politics section.


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