On Thursday January 21, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the sidelines of his visit to the European institutions. This was a first meeting with her counterpart. In a frank atmosphere, the Deputy Prime Minister had the opportunity to discuss a number of important issues for Belgium but also to express some concerns.
Deputy Prime Minister Wilmès received from her Turkish counterpart some precisions about the discussions held at the European level. Mr. Çavuşoğlu said that his visit to Brussels was aimed at overcoming the current deadlock in the relations with the European Union. Deputy Prime Minister Wilmès: “There is a positive agenda on the table if Turkey engages in de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean and settles its differences through dialogue and in compliance with international law. We also noted the announcement made by the Turkish government regarding a plan of reforms in the area of human rights. We look forward to seeing this intention materialize. »
The Deputy Prime Minister also confirmed the importance that Belgium attaches to maintaining good bilateral relations with Turkey from the economic and security point of view. The two countries, for example, underlined the good cooperation in the Foreign Terrorist Fighters dossier.
Moreover, on Wednesday, January 20, a virtual Joint Economic and Trade Commission was held with the Turkish Minister of Trade, Ruhsar Pekcan. “Our exporters are facing a number of obstacles. We called for a full implementation of the customs union currently in force. A modernization of this union can be envisaged in the perspective of a sustainable revival of relations between Turkey and the Europeans,” added the Deputy Prime Minister.
Finally, Deputy Prime Minister Wilmès and her counterpart also discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Sophie Wilmès: “The ceasefire must hold. The Minsk Group is the only legitimate forum for the resolution of the conflict“.