Turkey, Belgium agree on terror

Turkey, Belgium agree on terror

Turkey, Belgium agree on terror

Turkish FM Davutoglu (L) is seen with his Belgium counterpart Reynders in Brussels. EPA Photo

Belgium and Turkey agreed yesterday to cooperate on issues of common interest, including the fight against terrorism, police and judicial cooperation, and migration management, at a trilateral meeting attended by three ministries from both sides in Brussels.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin represented Turkey.

The Ministers expressed their determination to fight terrorism and the financing of terrorism, while reiterating their will to further develop cooperation in this field. Both foreign ministers exchanged views on developments in the Middle East, including Syria, human rights and relations between Turkey and the European Union. The interior ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Police Cooperation, which allows for the exchange of experience and best practices in fighting terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, illegal trafficking of drugs and money laundering, in full respect of national and international obligations.

The justice ministers signed a joint statement on judicial cooperation, including the establishment of technical consultations on legal assistance, in full respect of national and international obligations.

Speaking after the meetings, Justice Minister Ergin said no one was in prison in Turkey for expressing their opinions.

“Many names said to be in prison for journalism have finalized verdicts of imprisonment on charges including robbing a bank, bombing and killing a policeman,” Ergin said. “No one should call such crimes, acts of terror and violence journalism.”

The minister admitted that there were some legal arrangements limiting press freedom in Turkey, and said a judicial package to be discussed in Parliament soon would ease those restrictions.