Prime minister Ponta was in Turkey on Thursday for an official visit during which he met the President Abdullah Gul, his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leadership of the Parliament.
Ponta was accompanied at Ankara by the ministers of Agriculture Daniel Constantin, Defence Mircea Dusa, Energy Constantin Nita, as well as by the MPs of the Turkish and Tatar minorities respectively Iusein Ibram and Varol Amet.
Ahead of his official visit to Ankara, PM Ponta offered an exclusive interview to the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman. He explained that the common interests and the similarity in Turkey and Romania’s approaches set the stage for a continued Romanian-Turkish dialogue and cooperation on security issues. Ponta also said that the cooperation between Turkey and Romania on security issues is “excellent” within the NATO framework and in the informal trilateral cooperation format on security and strategic issues with Poland.
In the interview, Ponta talked about the main interests of the two countries and their cooperation in various fields, particularly defence, while underlining that the two countries’ dynamic bilateral defense relations will be rewarding for the region.
He also underlined the importance of an Action Plan for Strategic Partnership that was signed this March. Mentioning that the plan contains all the important projects that cover various fields of cooperation, ranging from political dialogue on foreign affairs to the economy, Ponta said Romania has high expectations from the future projects under this plan.
“With the backdrop of its geostrategic location and historical ties with the Middle East, Turkey has an essential role to play for the stability, peace and social development of the region,” said Ponta.
He also noted that Romania believes Turkey has played a necessary and positive role in regards to Syrian refugees and in its contribution to the removal of the dictatorial regime in Libya.
Ponta thinks that Turkish business investments in Romania look promising, but the two countries certainly could do more with the friendly atmosphere that Romania offers. Ponta called on Turkish businesspeople and entrepreneurs to invest in Romania as there are several facilities the Romanian Government offers to Turkish businessmen.
Ponta stressed the strong support of Romania to Turkey’s long European Union journey. “Turkey has proven its European vocation and we believe that its EU accession will make the EU a stronger actor in the international arena, both economically and politically,” he said.
Also on Thursday, the Romanian Defence Ministry (MApN) informed that the defense industry represents the common interest point for Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa and his Turkish counterpart Ismet Ylmaz, who discussed at a bilateral meeting having taken place in Turkey. “On this occasion, Minister Mircea Dusa said that Romania wanted the strengthening of the military-political dialogue between the two institutions, the collaboration between the two ministries by creating some direct partnership relations among categories of army forces,” MApN points out in a release remitted to Agerpres on Thursday.
At the same time, on the official agenda there was also the topic of developing the military cooperation in the area of defense against ballistic missiles, together with Poland, such as discussed in the NATO Summit of Chicago.
PM Victor Ponta left on Thursday morning to Ankara with a Spartan military aircraft belonging to the Ministry of Defence. He explained that this option is cheaper than going with a flight line.
The military aircraft was adapted to civilian flights, with about 24 seats for the official delegation and being equipped with communications equipment for the dignitaries. When Nine O’lock went to print last night, there was no information available about the talks between Ponta and Erdogan. Read a detailed report on our next issue, on Monday.