Saturday, 19 April 2014

Turkish PM Erdogan to visit Czech Republic next month

25 January 2013

Prague, Jan 24 (CTK) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a visit to the Czech Republic in early February, the Czech Government Office told CTK Thursday, adding that the programme of the visit is being prepared.

Apart from meeting his Czech counterpart Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS), Erdogan is also to meet Czech President Vaclav Klaus on February 4, the Presidential Office says on its website.

Earlier this month, four Czech military liaison specialists left for Turkey to reinforce the allied airspace defence of the turbulent Turkish-Syrian border.

Their main task is to secure transfers of data. They are to operate in Turkey for three to four months.

NATO decided on reinforcing the Turkish-Syrian border in December due to the situation in Syria where fights continue between Bashar Assad's regime and anti-government rebels.

Besides the Syrian issue, Czech leaders may discuss the European Union with Erdogan during his visit.

The Czech Republic supports Turkey's cooperation with the EU and its ongoing accession talks. Outgoing Czech President Klaus is an especially strong supporter of Turkey's EU entry.

The EU has been discussing the opinion of some, including Germany, whether Turkey should be offered the privileged partnership status rather than EU entry.

Erdogan said in October that Turkey will wait for accession till 2023 at the most and that afterwards the EU should not reckon with it.

Erdogan paid his last visit to the Czech Republic more than five years ago. The then Czech PM Mirek Topolanek (ODS) supported Turkey's effort to become a full-fledged EU member.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited the Czech Republic in April 2009 and Klaus, in his capacity as president, paid a visit to Turkey in February 2012.

Turkey's EU accession talks have been complicated by the Cypriot question because Turkey does not recognise the Greek part of the island as a sovereign state.

Turkey also comes under international criticism over human rights' violations. The EC has reproached Ankara for breaching the right to a just trial and the freedom of speech and rallying. It also pointed to various measures restricting journalists' free work in Turkey.

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