Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Croatian President Extends Condolences to Turkish Counterpart Over Wildfires

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has offered his condolences to Turkey, where forest fires have led to deaths and material damage, and invited his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Croatia.

I spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this evening and he thanked Croatia for sending the Canadair CL415 plane and two crews to help put out wildfires in Turkey. I extended my condolences to him and the entire Turkish nation for the suffering of people in the wildfires," Milanovic wrote in his Facebook post on Monday evening.

He said that sending the firefighting airplane to Turkey was a token of friendly and partner-like relations between the two countries, saying that the decision to send the plane was made together by the Croatian government and him as the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces.

"I invited president Erdogan to officially visit Croatia so that we can continue to build and develop friendly relations between our two countries.

Turkey is suffering the worst fires in at least a decade. The fires in Turkey began last week and now threaten the cities of Antalya, Bodrum and Marmaris, where hundreds of tourists and residents were evacuated from their hotels and homes.

Eight people have been killed by the fires.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Plenkovic Recalls Turkish Post-Earthquake Help as Croatian Canadair Sent

August the 3rd, 2021 - As wildfires rage across tourist destinations in Turkey and tourists are placed on boats to be taken away from immediate danger, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recalls the help Turkey readily offered to Croatia following the devastating earthquake which struck Central Croatia at the end of last year and sends a Croatian canadair to help.

The Turkish wildfires are horrifying to watch as they engulf the coastline and create a scene all too familiar for many people who have experienced the same on a lesser scale multiple times in Dalmatia over the summers. As heatwaves become more and more frequent, it seems such horrendous scenes will also become more normal viewing, and as Turkey also tried to save its tourist season, saving lives from the enormous flames has taken priority.

As Morski writes, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Sunday that the Republic of Croatia was ready to help Turkey fight catastrophic fires in the country in any way possible, in which eight people have tragically lost their lives so far.

"We'd like to express our condolences to the families of the victims, the Turkish people and President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan because of the catastrophic fires in the country," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic wrote on Twitter.

He added that the Croatian government had ''decided to help Turkey by sending a Croatian canadair" through the European Coordination Centre for Emergency Response's special system. (ERCC).

The number of people killed in the devastating fires raging along Turkey's otherwise wildly popular southern coast rose to eight on Sunday as Turkish firefighters battled for the fifth day to contain the growing blaze, which continues to threaten resorts and the country's tourism as tourists are moved out of the areas concerned onto boats.

The Prime Minister added that Croatia appreciates the assistance sent to the country by Turkey after the earthquake back at the very end of December 2020 in the area of Petrinja, Glina and Sisak.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Zagreb Police Candidates to Learn Turkish Language Starting November 2021

August 01, 2021 - The Zagreb Police Academy signed an agreement with The Yunus Emre Institute of Turkey on July 30, 2021, to make Turkish language education mandatory for Zagreb police candidates.

As Andalou Agency reported, the Turkish language will be taught to police candidates at the beginning of November this year. The Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre in Zagreb will provide Turkish language training programs to officers in Zagreb Police Academy. After the inital Turkish language course, successful police candidates will proceed to the next level and receive their certificates.

The director of the Turkish YEE Cultural Centre and the president of Zagreb Police Academy both beileve that this act is to further strengthen the long-standing friendship and diplomacy between Turkey and Croatia. In the signing event, Director Fuat Kormaz expressed the Yunus Emre Institute's desire to strengthen Turkey's deep-rooted historical relations with Croatia and President Davorka Martinjak of the police academy unreluctantly agreed. According to her, Croatia has always maintained good relations with Turkey, and that cooperation with the Turkish cultural centre will be of great importance.  

On top of the Turkish language courses, a bilateral agreement was also made that would provide training programs to police officers in the fields of communication, immigration, and counter-terrorism. These programs will be supervised by experts from the Turkish Interior Ministry. 

The Yunus Emre Institue in Zagreb also offers Turkish language courses to anyone interested.

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Saturday, 7 March 2020

Plenković in Phone Conversation with Erdogan: EU Backs Ceasefire in Syria

ZAGREB, March 7, 2020 - The European Union supports the agreement on ceasefire in Syria and on the de-escalation of the situation with migrants on the Greek-Turkish border, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković says on his Twitter account after he contacted top EU officials and the Turkish President on the phone on Friday.

After the telephone conversations with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Croatia, the current holder of the EU presidency, tweeted that "we support the agreed ceasefire in Syria and de-escalation of the situation with migrants along the Greek-Turkish border."

Thousands of migrants and refugees are trying to enter the EU after Turkey's claim that its border with Europe is open.

The latest developments prompted the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which was convened in Zagreb on Friday, to adopt a statement on the crisis in Idlib and the situation at the EU external borders.

The statement reads that the Council "acknowledges the increased migratory burden and risks Turkey is facing on its territory and the substantial efforts it has made in hosting 3,7 million migrants and refugees."

"The Council also strongly rejects Turkey's use of migratory pressure for political purposes and restates that the EU and its member states remain determined to effectively protect EU’s external borders, in accordance with EU and international law.

"In this context the Council reiterates the EU's full solidarity with Greece, which faces an unprecedented situation, as well as with Bulgaria, Cyprus and other member states in their efforts to manage the EU's external borders," reads the statement.

Acknowledging Turkey's efforts to stop a migrant wave in 2015, the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU calls on Ankara to honour the 2016 agreement.

Addressing the Council in Zagreb earlier on Friday, PM Plenković said the migrants who had arrived at the Greek border in the past few days should return to Turkey.

We think that's the most appropriate option. They are not people who came because of the current situation in Idlib but people who have been in Turkey for several years, he added.

"On Idlib, the Council notes that the recent and continuing offensive by the Syrian regime and its backers, including Russia, is creating untold human suffering and has provoked the worst humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the Syrian conflict," the EU Council says in its statement.

"The Council therefore calls for an urgent de-escalation of the conflict in Syria in order to avert a slide into international military confrontation, and prevent further suffering.

"The Council notes the outcome of the Russia-Turkey meeting yesterday in Moscow and reiterates, in the strongest possible terms, its call on all parties to keep in place an immediate and a sustainable ceasefire, to guarantee the protection of civilians on the ground and from the air and to enable the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance by the international community," reads the Zagreb statement.

More news about relations between Croatia and Turkey can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Op-Ed on Turkish-Croatian Relations by Turkish Investor Sadettin Saran

January 24, 2020 - As Croatia assumes the EU Presidency, an op-ed piece on Turkish-Croatian relations from Sadettin Saran, Chairman of the Board of the Saran Group and the outgoing Chair of the Turkey-Croatia Business Council.

Croatia's first ever presidency of the Council of the European Union comes at a critical period for the continent. It will be a testing time for Croatia, not least due to the challenges caused by Brexit and the precarious condition of the Western Balkans.
 
But the six-month chairmanship will also be a crucial opportunity for the EU's newest member: to boost the continent’s competitiveness through investments and innovations and build a strong Europe in a world full of challenges – challenges that my country, Turkey, is well placed to help Croatia with during its presidency. Only by working together with Turkey – and treating it as a partner, not an adversary – will Europe reap its full potential on the global stage.
 
With this in mind, Zagreb’s EU Presidency these next six months will be the perfect platform to highlight the strength of the Turkey-Croatia relationship and the value that Turkey adds to the European Union. During my time as Chairman of the Turkey-Croatia Business Council I have developed a deep appreciation of the virtues of the Croatian people and the importance of the historic connection between our two countries, which includes a well-established record of supporting each other on the global stage. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Croatia’s independence and was a staunch supporter of the country’s accession to NATO.
 
Our close ties also spill over to business relations, which have grown in importance in recent years. According to the latest figures, trade volume last year reached almost $600 million, an increase of almost 12% year on year. Turkish investments in Croatia have also gained momentum. There are already 20 Turkish investment firms in Croatia, across tourism, banking, transportation and the energy sector. Turkish construction firms are currently involved in several projects and the fact that some of our largest contractors have taking part in major tenders shows that this investment is growing substantially. The development of Croatia’s first geothermal power plant by a Turkish investor is another case in point.
 
We are on the right track, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels as the current level of cooperation does not reflect our true potential. There is much more that we can do together – there is important potential in construction, information and communications technology, renewable energy and agriculture. Increasing the trade volume to $1 billion is now one of our key targets. The tourism sector, which makes up 20% of Croatia’s GDP, holds a lot of promise for both countries. Turkish investors such as myself have extensive expertise in this field and my company Saran Holding, has helped support solid growth in this sector through development projects and the provision of services and commodities. There is also room for improvement when it comes to Croatian investment in Turkey. My country offers a very attractive as well as a safe and stable business environment. The numbers speak for themselves. Turkey recorded one of the most significant improvements in the 2019 Doing Business ranking, while the IMF provided the most positive revision of GDP growth in its forecast for Turkey last year.
 
When considering Turkey-Croatia relations, we shouldn’t forget the bigger picture. Margaritis Schinas, the Vice President of the European Commission, said last month that he wants Turkey to know that the EU remains a trusted partner, adding that “increased engagement” will help improve relations. I agree. A good starting point would be to address the deficiencies of Turkey’s customs union with Brussels, with an eye on eliminating burdensome structural problems. Croatia, while at the helm of the EU Presidency, would be well-served to make sure that this issue doesn’t fall between the cracks.
 
In my past life as a professional swimmer, my favourite style was the butterfly stroke, which some consider the most difficult stroke to master. If swum with improper form, the stroke is extremely tiring and inefficiently slow. However, once mastered it is one of the fastest and smoothest strokes. When it comes to business relations, Turkey and Croatia are butterfly stroke champions – years of hard work, determination and forward-thinking has started to pay off for both countries. I strongly believe that this friendship and cooperation will continue to flourish in the future and that the Turkey-Croatia Business Council can play a major part.

// Sadettin Saran is Chairman of the Board of the Saran Group and the outgoing Chair of the Turkey-Croatia Business Council. He is one of the leading Turkish investors in the Croatian tourism sector and a former competitive swimmer, having captained the Turkish National Swimming Team. //

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Croatia Denies Blocking EU Condemnation of Turkey's Syria Offensive

ZAGREB, October 15, 2019 - Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Monday denied a media report that Croatia had blocked the adoption of an EU joint statement condemning Turkey's military intervention in north-eastern Syria.

"We were surprised when we saw it. It is possible that someone confused Croatia with another country which may have wanted milder wording. We strongly supported a condemnation of the unilateral military intervention," Grlić Radman told reporters when asked to comment on a media report that Croatia, along Great Britain, had vetoed the adoption of the joint statement.

"We advocate multilateralism and are interested in stability in that region. We are against unilateral actions that cause instability, insecurity and a possible new wave of refugees," Grlić Radman said.

AFP journalist Damon Wake wrote on Twitter, citing unnamed sources, that Great Britain and Croatia were currently blocking the EU joint statement condemning the Turkish offensive and that they objected to the use of the word "condemn".

EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, condemned Turkey's unilateral military action in north-eastern Syria and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops from the area.

"The EU condemns Turkey’s military action which seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance," says the statement agreed by the foreign ministers of the 28 member states.

Last week Turkey launched a military operation in north-eastern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia. The aim of the operation is to form a security zone in north-eastern Syria, along the border with Turkey, and settle there Syrian refugees currently staying in Turkey.

More foreign policy news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Erdogan Suggests Reviving Croatia-Bosnia-Serbia Dialogue

ZAGREB, July 9, 2019 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday suggested reviving dialogue between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Serbia to improve the situation in the region and reinforce good neighbourly cooperation, according to a press release issued after his meeting with the members of the BiH Presidency.

Erdogan held talks with Milorad Dodik, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić in Sarajevo, where he arrived to attend a summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process.

The Presidency's press release said Erdogan expressed willingness to support the revival of cooperation between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

He also confirmed Turkey's support for BiH's Euro-Atlantic journey, which he sees as a guarantee of stability and peace.

Džaferović said it was important for BiH as well as the entire region to have in Turkey a partner which supported its stability.

He regretted on behalf of the state leadership the decision by Kosovo's representatives not to attend the summit. "I think they made a mistake. They either don't or won't understand the situation in BiH," he said, adding that BiH did not recognise Kosovo because there was no consensus within the country.

He said it was entirely unjustified that Kosovo-BiH cooperation was worse than Kosovo-Serbia cooperation.

More Western Balkans news can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Turkey Featured at This Year's Pula Film Festival

ZAGREB, June 16 (Hina) - Turkey is the Friend Country of the 66th edition of the Pula Film Festival that will take place in that biggest Istrian city from 13 to 21 July.

"For a number of years, in cooperation with embassies and cultural centres, Pula Film Festival has been organising a section of the International Programme called Friend Country. This year, the cooperation with Turkey will be presented through six contemporary films," the festival says on its web site

One of those six films is the "Dairy Philosopher" comedy directed by Mutif Can Sacinti. The film is about an enthusiast who replaces life in the city with life in the countryside, but soon after receives an offer for his land.

Also the screening of Turkish films includes "Husband Factor" directed by Kivanc Baruonu, which also takes a humorous tone telling a story about a traditional family pressuring a young woman living with her parents to marry.

"The award-winning film Grain (directed by S. Kaplanoglu) is a post-apocalyptic account of a society divided into urban and agricultural zones, where incompatible immigrants suffer from drought and epidemics. The film Blue Bicycle (directed by U. Koreken) is a family drama about a boy who’s saving to buy a bicycle, but is prepared to give up his dream to help a girl in trouble. The drama Fish (directed by D. Zaim) is a story about a fisherman searching for a medicinal fish to help cure his daughter. Telling Tales (directed by B. Aksak) is a romantic comedy about a shy minibus driver whose life changes when he meets a dreamy girl," according to the information published on the festival's website.

The festival organises the showing of all films in Pula's landmark Arena and in the Istrian National Theatre.

More film news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 18 February 2019

President Meets with Turkish Business People in Istanbul

ZAGREB, February 18, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Sunday evening met a group of Turkish business people in Istanbul where she arrived for participation in a gathering of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF), the office of the Croatian head of state said in a press release.

"Throughout the years, Croatia and Turkey have nurtured a strong friendship, understanding and closeness in their ties, which is reflected in cooperation in the framework of international forums and especially in key areas of joint interest," the Croatian President was quoted as saying in her address to the Turkish business people.

"The economy is one of the areas of cooperation to which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I have devoted a lot of attention at our meeting last month," Grabar-Kitarović said.

She invited Turkish business people to invest in Croatia and explore new business opportunities and projects that the country offers, and said that "Croatia highly appreciates the activities of Turkish companies in the country, lends its full support and respects Turkish investments in Croatian tourism, banking and energy – areas that have special importance for the development of the Croatian economy".

The Croatian president thanked executives of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and the Croatian-Turkish Business Council for efforts in establishing cooperation between the companies of the two countries and developing new business projects.

Grabar-Kitarović is due to address the Grand Opening of World Congress of Angel Investors of WBAF in Istanbul on Monday morning.

More news about relations between Croatia and Turkey can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Interior Minister Visits Turkish-Syrian Border, Discusses Migrant Crisis

ZAGREB, January 31, 2019 - Europe will have to do more about the resolving of conflicts and finding of peaceful solutions in its neighbourhood, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on the Turkish-Syrian border on Wednesday, visiting two camps in which Turkey has taken in some of the nearly four million Syrian refugees fleeing from military conflicts in their country.

"In the future, Europe will have to do more about conflict solving, about finding peace agreements, because we have seen how much Europe is exposed if its immediate neighbourhood is... destabilised. Unless the situation here is under control, in Europe we can expect various events which we don't want to see," Božinović told Croatian reporters at a Turkish-Syrian border crossing near Kilis, Turkey.

He said Europe must utilise the strength it "realistically has" given that, economically, it is one of the most developed parts of the world. "Europe also has the resources. It's just a matter of agreeing on their use and of how much European, not just narrow national goals, come first to all stakeholders in Europe."

After visiting the refugee camps, Božinović reiterated that Turkey had invested a lot of effort to accommodate almost four million people from Syria. "The logistic support is at a very high level. There are schools, religious facilities, different courses are being organised," he said, adding that in the two camps he visited more than 5,000 children were born in the past few years.

He said the lasting solution was for the people to return to their homes and that he hoped "reason will prevail and that the EU will play a stronger part." "If Europe doesn't play a strong, active role in conflict prevention, we will deal with such crises in future too and that's in nobody's interest."

"In several weeks a delegation from our Interior Ministry will arrive in Turkey and choose another 100 people to come to Croatia. It is important, however, not to make any wrong moves in these integration efforts, because all the failures of the integration policy in the European union came back to haunt us through very radical events in recent history," Božinović said.

He told the press in Turkey that in the 1990s Croatia had one million refugees, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also from other parts of Croatia. He said that he had seen efforts made by all parties involved and a great amount of humanity. Božinović said that regardless of the fact that Turkey was doing all that it could, there was no place like home.

Božinović visited the two refugee camps outside Nizip and Kilis, each accommodating approximately 4,000 people, and held talks with camp administrators and refugees.

Most of refugees that the Croatian media talked to there want to go back to Syria but have no means to do that.

More news on the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.

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