Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Anze Logar on Tuesday pledged to play a constructive role in Turkey’s membership in the European Union.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, Logar said that Slovenia will encourage dialogue between the EU and Turkey during its mandate as president of the Council of the European Union.
“Slovenia will insist on dialogue. We think that the issues to be open should be addressed and evaluated within the framework of mutual interests. I stated that Slovenia will play an extremely constructive role in this respect. We highlighted how important it is to take further steps, especially regarding the Customs Union. We will also offer our support for visa liberalization. You can expect a very constructive role from Slovenia,” said Logar.
Slovenia will preside over the Council of the European Union for the second time in July.
Logar shared Slovenia’s plans to organize an unofficial Western Balkans Summit when it takes over the term presidency.
“We must gather different perspectives, but the place of the Western Balkans is in the EU,” said Logar.
Logar added that he shared with Cavusoglu views about Libya and the situation in Afghanistan.
“This was extremely valuable for us. In addition, updating the agreement on immigration will be one of the important items for Slovenia during the EU Presidency,” said Logar.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu underlined that the visit by top EU officials to Ankara last month has enabled fruitful discussions between the two sides.
“There is a much better atmosphere in our relationships right now. Now is the time to take concrete steps. In particular, we think that it is important to take steps to cooperate on important issues such as high-level dialogues, such as the modernization of the Customs Union, visa liberalization, fight against terrorism, and immigration, as stated by my counterpart,” said Cavusoglu.
Answering a question on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Cavusoglu said that this is not an issue related to protecting women’s rights.
The convention caused controversy in many countries, and 6 EU member states did not ratify the convention, he said.
He added that the issue of human rights is a priority in Turkey as well as the EU institutions and many other nations.
“Because, in many ways, it has become a problematic area even within EU member states. We have to admit that we all have problems. We also see Islamophobic attacks against minorities and immigrants. Their human rights are violated in many western countries.
“We have achieved extremely important reforms. These reforms are, of course, an ongoing process.
“Recently, the human rights reform plan was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The framework of this reform plan was shared with the public and we continue to work on its details.
“Also, work is continuing on the judicial reform strategy document,” said Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu noted that both Turkey and Slovenia are on the same page on Western Balkans.
“Because Turkey and Slovenia have common concerns and interests in the Balkans. Our close cooperation with Slovenia contributes to prosperity and peace in the Western Balkans,” said Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu added that the relations between Turkey and Slovenia are developing in every field.
“Our trade volume has reached $2 billion and it’s still increasing in a balanced way. Also, together we will cooperate for stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans,” said Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu arrived in the capital Ljubljana for official talks with top-level politicians. He is expected to arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo later on Tuesday.
He also met with the Chairman of the Slovenian Islamic Society Mufti Nedzad Grabus.
Before he left Slovenia, he met with President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Jansa.