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EU-Turkey cooperation discussed during Turkish Prime Minister's visit to Finland

Government Communications Department
Publication date 6.4.2016 12.56
Press release 138/2016

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä met the Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu in Helsinki on Wednesday 6 April. The discussions focused on the bilateral relations between the two countries, the topical migration situation, the relations between the EU and Turkey and the overall international situation.

The prime ministers discussed the progress of the measures agreed between the EU and Turkey in March to stop irregular migratory flows from Turkey to EU countries. The first Syrian quota refugees have been relocated from Turkey to the EU this week. On Monday, Finland received eleven Syrians from Turkey as an emergency relocation measure.      

"It is extremely important that the agreed measures to prevent human smuggling and to stop irregular migration will be implemented. The EU funds for the Syrian refugees in Turkey must be made available in an appropriate and swift manner," said Prime Minister Sipilä.    

The EU and Turkey have agreed on the opening of new chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations.

"Turkey is an important partner for Finland and relations between our two countries are excellent. Finland has supported Turkey's accession process from the start. Accession is, however, possible only after Turkey has met the membership criteria in full and in this connection it is important that Turkey continues on the path of reform with due respect for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech," Sipilä said.

The premiers also touched on other key international issues, such as the situation in Turkey's neighbouring regions. The recent terrorist attacks in Turkey were also discussed.

"The attacks in Turkey have been shocking. Finland strongly condemns terrorism and we are working in close cooperation with the international community to fight terrorism," Prime Minister Sipilä said.

Measures for closer economic relations were also on the agenda. For instance, cleantech and energy sectors provide opportunities for cooperation. Bilateral trade between Finland and Turkey exceeds EUR 1.1 billion annually. Later on Wednesday, the premiers will attend a meeting of Finnish and Turkish business representatives. The delegation of Prime Minister Davutoğlu includes several ministers and business leaders.

During his visit, Prime Minister Davutoğlu also had a meeting with President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela. In addition, Prime Minister Davutoğlu had discussions with President Martti Ahtisaari, Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn and Member of Parliament Matti Vanhanen, all previously involved in close cooperation with Turkey.

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 315 and Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 40 748 3867, Prime Minister’s Office