Turkey, Luxembourg hail ties, eye further improvement

Turkey, Luxembourg hail ties, eye further improvement

Turkey, Luxembourg hail ties, eye further improvement

Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg (2nd L), his wife Grand Duchess Teresa (L), Turkish President Gül (2nd R) and his wife Hayrunnisa Gül pose. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The historic visit of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg to Turkey will help further improve already-excellent political and economic relations between the two countries, Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said.

“Luxembourg is a small country population-wise, but it is one of the important financial centers of Europe [and is] a founding member of the European Union. In this regard, it has great influence,” Gül said at a joint press conference following meetings at the presidency. First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül also attended such a press conference for the first time.

The grand duke and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, are paying a four-day trip to Turkey, making the first visit at the level of head of state since Luxembourg and Ankara established diplomatic ties in 1947.

Gül also said the countries were allies in NATO and that Luxembourg supported Turkey’s accession to the EU.

The total investment of Luxembourg in Turkey exceeds $6.5 billion and constitutes the most important part of bilateral economic cooperation, the president said.

The grand duke, for his part, noted the importance that he had come to Turkey with a delegation consisting of 100 business leaders and three ministers.

“We see Turkey as a bridge connecting us to Asia,” he said. “Europe and Luxembourg can take benefits by using this bridge because you know this region and we can take advantage of your expertise in this region. In the same way, Luxembourg is also a door opening to Europe. Turkish people can use this door of Luxembourg to open up to Europe.”

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess will then travel to Gaziantep today to visit Syrian refugees sheltered in camps.

The royal couple, Gül and Asselborn will participate at the opening ceremony of The Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit in Istanbul tomorrow. The delegation from Luxembourg will then attend a business forum.