ZAGREB, January 30, 2019 – During talks with his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Soylu in Ankara on Tuesday, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović underscored that Turkey, particularly due to its care for almost four million refugees, was Croatia’s and also the European Union’s strategic partner. “Croatia values Turkey’s efforts in resolving the refugee crisis,” Božinović said after the meeting at Turkey’s interior ministry.
Both ministers underlined that this was their second meeting following the UN conference in Marakesh where they had also discussed bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation in the field of security and migration management. “Migration remains the leading challenge that requires a comprehensive response, particularly when it comes to illegal migration and smuggling networks that have recently intensified their activities on alternative routes,” Božinović said.
Soylu recalled the historical ties between Croatia and Turkey, adding that relations with Croatia would continue to be important in the future too. “We have similar thoughts. We had an opportunity to discuss relations between Croatia and Turkey. We exchanged opinions on the issues of terrorism and drug smuggling, and agreed to fight that together,” he said.
He expressed hope that when Croatia chairs the Council of the EU in 2020, Turkey would progress toward the European Union, particularly because the presidents of the two countries had already agreed to intensify relations.
Božinović said that security would be one of Croatia’s priorities during its EU presidency, including migration, border security, the fight against terrorism, organised and cybercrime.
On Wednesday, the Croatian delegation will visit refugee camps on the Syrian border.
According to UNHCR data, there are currently 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees in Turkey. According to an EU-Turkey agreement, Turkey receives six billion euro from Europe and Croatia has so far paid in 5.7 euro million for that purpose. In the fourth quarter of this year, Croatia will contribute an additional 250,000 euro and a further 3 million euro in a total of 10 instalments from 2019 to 2023.
According to data from the Croatian Interior Ministry, 152 Syrians have been integrated into Croatian society to date following a 2015 decision that has been implemented by the present government. In October 2017, the government decided to accept an additional 100 refugees.
More news on the refugee crisis can be found in the Politics section.