On Friday, 3 February, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, and Mehmet Ali Şahin, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey, had a meeting followed by a press briefing during which Āboltiņa noted that Turkey is Latvia’s strategic partner with whom we have to promote close economic cooperation.
Speaker Āboltiņa emphasised: “Against the background of successful political relations between the two countries, it is necessary to develop economic cooperation. The necessary legal framework is in place, and there are direct flights between our countries.” She pointed out that with regard to parliamentary cooperation, this is the highest-level visit in the last five years.
The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly also characterised the relations between the two counties as friendly. He said that since people elect their parliaments, strengthening interparliamentary relations means bringing the peoples of Latvia and Turkey closer together.
Aboltiņa noted: “Turkey has always supported Latvia’s accession to NATO. We have been full-fledged partners in the Alliance for almost seven years, and the Turkish Air Force, among others, has been patrolling our air space and thus safeguarding our security.”
The Latvian Speaker pointed out that Turkey is a very important strategic partner for Europe both as a transit country for energy resources and as a significant player in a region where processes that affect the rest of the world are taking place. She confirmed that Latvia supports Turkey in its EU accession negotiations and expressed hope that this year another chapter for accession negotiation will be opened.
“Today we have also discussed with my Turkish counterpart the situation in Egypt, where massive popular protests have encouraged changes in the country, which, hopefully, will bring democracy and stability,” said Āboltiņa. Mehmet Ali Şahin attested that Turkey as a democratic country in this region is well aware of its role and responsibility in fostering peace and stability.
The Speaker of the Grand National Assembly invited the Speaker of the Saeima to pay a visit to Turkey.
Mehmet Ali Şahin, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey, and the accompanying delegation are paying an official visit to Latvia from 3 to 5 February. During the visit, the Turkish Speaker will also meet with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Affairs Committee and the group for interparliamentary relations with Turkey. The programme of the visit also contains meetings of the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly with Valdis Zatlers, President of Latvia, and Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mehmet Ali Şahin will also visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and meet with Mārcis Auziņš, Rector of the University of Latvia, Turkish students and representatives of the Turkish community in Latvia. He will also visit Cēsis in order to lay a wreath at the Turkish cemetery.
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Saeima Press Service