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Steps Forward in Turkey/EU Integration

Posted on 22 October 2010

This week saw some pretty significant developments in Turkey’s integration into Europe.

Firstly, foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu signed a partial visa-free deal with Portugal on an official visit to Lisbon.

Once ratified by both parliaments the deal will allow citizens who hold special visas in both countries to travel to the other without the need for a visa for one 90 day period every six months.

And secondly German President Christian Wulff made a statement saying that Europe "needs Turkey as much as Turkey needs Europe". He also called Turkey an "important partner" and saying that he would focus on building ties between the two nations. This of course follows similar sentiments (if not as strong) from French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in his honour, Wulff was quoted as saying:

"Turkey is an important partner for Germany, one with self confidence. However there is yet much we can and must do to enhance the mutual understanding. Building the bridges and promoting the dialogue we aspire, through projects within the scope of the Ernst Reuter Initiative, is my personal desire and our common goal."

"Turkey, with its growing weight in the world, is a very important partner for us in climate change policies, in counter-terrorism, and finance market regulation. Therefore, I shall work within my full capacity to enhance German-Turkish partnership and brotherhood."

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