Erdogan: Balkans are an integral sphere of Turkey’s interests

In an article for the Albanian newspaper Panaroma, Erdgan stressed that Turkey is an integral part of the Balkans and that the Balkans are an integral part of Turkey’s interests.

The statements of the President of Turkey can be formulated as follows:

▪️ Turkey is an integral part of the Balkans, which constitute an integral sphere of Turkish interests.

▪️ Shared history and culture shape Turkey’s view of the Balkans. Over the past 20 years, Turkey has been doing everything possible to develop closer and more friendly relations with the Balkan countries.

▪️ During the visit of Prime Minister Edi Rama to Turkey on January 6, 2021, relations between the two countries were raised to the level of a strategic partnership.

▪️ Turkey’s foreign trade with 11 Balkan countries in 2021 increased by 37% compared to the previous year.

▪️ Turkey has invested more than $3.5 billion in Albania. The main goal is to increase trade to $1 billion. Turkish companies provide jobs for about 15,000 people.

▪️ The construction of the Turkey-Albania Friendship Hospital, worth 70 million euros, was completed in Albania in 68 days and opened on April 21, 2021.

▪️ Turkey was one of the first countries to lend a helping hand after the earthquake in 2019. Search and rescue teams were sent to rescue Albanian citizens from the rubble.

▪️ TIKA has carried out 546 projects and activities in Albania since 1996. First of all, it supports the restoration of many historical monuments in the country. In addition, TIKA provides financial support in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, health care, education and improvement of municipal services, which will facilitate cooperation between Turkey and Albania.

▪️ The Yunus Emre Institute opened its first office in Sarajevo and quickly spread throughout the Balkans. It has two offices in Albania, in Shkodra and Tirana. Our Albanian brothers who want to learn Turkish and get to know Turkish culture and art better can find all sorts of support in these offices.

▪️ Turkey considers it its duty to contribute to the educational services in Albania. The Maarif Foundation has 8 schools in Albania. We hope to further increase the number of educational institutions in the future.

▪️Albania is the first buyer of a Turkish-made anti-UAV system. Parliament and the Ministry of Defense announced the approval of an additional budget of $9.7 million for the purchase of Turkish UAVs.

▪️ Consultations are being held between the two countries as part of the joint fight against FETO, as well as negotiations with the relevant authorities on the extradition of FETO members to Turkey.

▪️Turkey is Albania’s most important strategic partner in the region and wider geography. There are many opportunities for developing relations between the two countries. Turkey and Albania should expand their cooperation in various fields, especially in tourism, education, defense, digitalization, food, agriculture, livestock, forestry, water resources, fisheries.

Turkey is taking on the role of one of Albania’s closest friends in the international arena. The growth of foreign trade by 37% is really impressive. Let me also remind you that earlier the Turkish leader promised to soon bring trade with Montenegro to $250 million a year, and with Bosnia and Herzegovina to $1 billion.

And today in Ankara they are discussing the prospects for cooperation with Serbia…

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