Spain and Turkey took part in their first High Level Meeting in Istanbul today. During this meeting both countries decided to enhance their relationships, which will be done through a series of annual meetings.
During the press conference offered by the President of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Spain said that the number of Spanish firms in Turkey had increased, yet, the commercial relationships between both countries had to be promoted."We want to make up for the time we have lost", he added.
Rodríguez Zapatero explained that during the meeting they talked about issues concerning interior affairs, defence and renewable energies.
The Spanish and Turkish Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Development, Industry, Tourism and Commerce and Equality were also part of the Spanish delegation and they signed a series of agreements.
The fight against organised crime and terrorism, human trade and illegal immigration were some of the issues in focus.
Support to Turkey
The President of Spain told the Prime Minister of Turkey that Spain's position was "firm, clear, solid" in favour of Turkey's candidature to enter the European Union (EU).
Rodríguez Zapatero said that we must "open the door" for Turkey to enter "the EU peace and cooperation project", provided it meets the necessary requisites for integration.
Thus, he explained that the EU is based upon the Law, for the rules for integration have been established through a set of laws and the procedures must be respected.
He also said that the Commission must evaluate the situation and that, then, the Council will make the corresponding decision, but the discussion at the Council will take some time.
Yet, he said that Turkey's entrance is good both for Turkey and for the EU.
The Alliance of Civilisations
Tomorrow, both leaders will inaugurate the 2nd Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations, which will be held in Istanbul. This initiative proposed by the President of Spain and supported by Turkey has been adopted by the United Nations.
The President of Spain said that this Forum is intended to contribute to the creation of an international order that may guarantee peaceful coexistence all over the world.
Meeting with Barack Obama
Rodríguez Zapatero was asked about his meeting with the President of the United States and he said that Barack Obama had contributed to an "extraordinary" week from the international point of view; a week in which the unity of the greatest countries against recession has been stressed; a week in which the NATO has proved its capacity to follow a new direction; and a week in which the EU and the USA have proved they have a "very solid common ground" to work together for peace and safety and against climatic change.
He said that the first actions the President of the United States is carrying out are "full of hope and future" and he said that he wonders "what can we do for Obama - rather than what how can Obama do for us - in order to support him and help him implement his ideas".
Rodríguez Zapatero said that the words of the President of the United States in Prague were "very relevant"; as he said that his main goal was to eradicate nuclear weapons.
To conclude, he stressed his "open attitude" and "willingness", which is "something we thank him for specially, because he represents the most powerful country in the world".
As to the rumours concerning imminent changes in the Government, Rodríguez Zapatero said that he never commented on such issues in Spain, let alone abroad. "Let them break the news they want to, and let's see whether they are right or wrong", he added.
• Spain and Turkey signed a cooperation agreement in the sector of renewable energy.
• Words of Rodríguez Zapatero during the press conference 08:12
• Words of Erdogan during the press conference 06:07
• Answers of both leaders to the journalists (1st part) 07:44
• Answers of both leaders to the journalists (2nd part) 02:21
• Agreement signature 11:04