Top Turkish diplomat to visit EU term president Portugal

Top Turkish diplomat to visit EU term president Portugal

Top Turkish diplomat to visit EU term president Portugal

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will pay an official visit to Portugal on Jan. 7 and will discuss with his Portuguese counterpart bilateral relations as well as Turkish ties with the EU, whose rotating presidency Portugal currently holds.

“Turkey-EU relations, the Portuguese EU Presidency, as well as current regional and international issues” will be among the topics when Çavuşoğlu speaks with Augusto Santos Silva, said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement on Jan. 5.

“On the occasion of the visit, preparations for the second Turkey-Portugal Intergovernmental Summit will also be discussed,” the statement added.

Portugal took the reins of the EU Presidency on Jan. 1, a position it will hold for six months.

Turkey and the EU will intensify diplomatic contacts starting from January as part of the government’s will to normalize dialogue with Brussels, Çavuşoğlu earlier told journalists.

“We are ready to run our relations in a more positive climate. We expect the same readiness from the EU,” he said on Dec. 30 after months of strain between Ankara and EU member states due to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Çavuşoğlu noted that he will travel to Spain after his visit to Portugal.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are expected to pay a visit to Turkey, he noted.

Last month, EU leaders meeting in Brussels last week decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets for sanctions over Ankara’s “unilateral actions and provocations” in the eastern Mediterranean, believed to be rich in energy resources. But they postponed further decisions such as trade tariffs or an arms embargo until they have consulted with the upcoming U.S. administration.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration and stressed that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Ankara has sent several drillships in recent months to explore for energy resources in the region.

Çavuşoğlu meets ASEAN ambassadors

Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu held a meeting with the ambassadors of Asian countries in Turkey to discuss the Turkish government’s relations with the ASEAN organization.

Recalling that Turkey announced its “Asia Anew” initiative in 2019 upon the instructions by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Çavuşoğşu said, “The objective of this initiative is not seek a new direction for Turkey but re-connect with Asia in a much stronger way.”

The minister said Turkey is attaching a special importance to its ties with the ASEAN which represents a $3 trillion market with a 650 million population. Ambassadors of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have attended the meeting.

Turkey has ambassadors in all the ASEAN countries, including Laos and Myanmar which don’t have diplomatic representations in Turkey, he informed, expressing his hope that these two countries will soon open an embassy in the Turkish capital as well.