“Turkey is one of the countries that have consistently refused to recognise the occupation of Latvia. Now, after ten years in the European Union and NATO, we know how important it is to have the support and understanding of other member states. Therefore, Latvia fully supports further enlargement of the EU and Turkey’s candidacy for membership”, declared Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, after her meeting on 23 October with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the newly elected President of the Republic of Turkey. Latvia is the first EU member state he has officially visited since being elected.
Turkey and Latvia have established a very good relationship, acknowledged the Speaker. That is clearly reflected in high-level exchange visits, cooperation in the fields of education and culture, and increasingly active economic ties.
Representatives of Turkey and Latvia also praised the successful cooperation between the parliaments of both countries - both parliaments have established parliamentary cooperation groups for strengthening relations with their counterparts, which are a viable platform for strengthening parliamentary cooperation between both countries.
Turkey is an important trade partner of Latvia, affirmed Āboltiņa when asked about economic contacts. The Speaker also expressed her satisfaction with increasing bilateral trade figures over the last five years. Latvia’s export volumes to Turkey increased by 25% during the first six months of this year. Both sides agreed during the meeting that Latvia’s and Turkey’s cooperation could be even closer as a result of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee established by both countries this year.
The Speaker of the Saeima confirmed that Latvia would be interested in enhanced cooperation with Turkey in the sphere of transit and logistics. She also pointed out that Turkish Airlines is already a very active player on the Latvian market.
Speaking of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2015, Āboltiņa emphasised that the next year will be quite challenging for Latvia because it has been invited to start accession negotiations with the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). One of the priorities of the Latvian Presidency is cooperation with Central Asian countries, a region that is of geographic and strategic importance to Latvia.
The Speaker of the Saeima concluded by praising the successful bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism, especially during this year, when Riga is the European Capital of Culture. She reported that more and more travellers from Latvia are choosing Turkey as their destination, and more Turks are coming to Latvia. Āboltiņa was certain that mobility and mutual interest will help people get to know each other better and enable them to discover the uniqueness of each other’s culture and traditions.
Photos from the meeting are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157648519983968/
Video from the meeting is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYrnZ86DvyY&list=UUdQ1YxaZG3i7ygGCdU8mPKQ
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Saeima Press Service