Turkey and Greece need trade, not tanks, says EU negotiator November 7, 2010Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
Tags: Greece, Turkey
Egemen Bağış (R) and Greek deputy FM Spyros Kouvelis.
Aegean neighbors Turkey and Greece need schools, hospitals and economic cooperation instead of extra tanks and weaponry, Turkey’s chief negotiator for EU talks said Monday.
“Turkey and Greece need no extra tanks, war planes or submarines; they need new highways, schools, hospitals, trade and cooperation in the economy,” Egemen Bağış said during a speech in Ankara at the opening meeting of the Turkish-Greek Joint Economic Committee, which is designed to boost trade and business links between the two countries.
Trade volume between Turkey and Greece increased from $900 million to $3.5 billion in 2000, Bağış said, adding that Greek investments in Turkey were worth more than $6.5 billion and that 630,000 Greek tourists visited Turkey last year.
The negotiator said Turkey and Greece had started to make remarkable progress under the visionary leadership of their prime ministers, laying the ground for cooperation.
“Today, economic and trade relations between the countries are defining political relations. Improving relations is not only a task and goal for us but also a historic responsibility on our shoulders,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis said an initiative launched by the Turkish and Greek prime ministers would remove obstacles standing in the way of entrepreneurs from the two countries and added that the improving economic relations would help develop political relations as well.
“Greece has been experiencing a serious economic crisis lately and economic development is of utmost importance for my country. We consider Turkey as a model to overcome our crisis and we expect that our two countries will take steps to boost the cooperation. Both domestic and foreign investments play a major role in our economic development,” Kouvelis said.
“We consider Turkey a good friend and a good neighbor. Seeing the flags of the two countries side by side means a better future for the Turkish and Greek nations,” he said.