Turkey appreciates Bulgaria's attitude toward the country, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Friday in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, highlighting the importance of bilateral relations for both sides.
Speaking during a joint press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart, Çavuşoğlu said the aim is to propel already exceptional ties to an even higher level.
The foreign minister emphasized that Bulgaria is more than an ordinary neighbor for Turkey, while indicating that for the most part, the cooperation between the two is exemplary for the international community.
He further added that the difficulties in the region can be overcome through the two countries' joint work.
The relationship between Turkey and Bulgaria continues to be strengthened as it gradually turns into a friendship and a sustainable partnership, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva said on the issue.
"I'm really glad the scope of this friendship has extended over time. Our relationship is based on mutual neighborly ties, trust and respect. I whole-heartedly believe that they (the ties between the two countries) will continue. Turkey is our NATO ally, neighbor and one of our biggest economic partners," Zakharieva stated.
Expressing that Turkey's partnership is crucial when it comes to illegal migration and the fight against terrorism, Zakharieva said the meeting with Çavuşoğlu brought new goals to this partnership.
Çavuşoğlu also stated that Turkey's determination in the fight against terrorism will continue.
Turkey has been the main destination for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries with the hope of reaching Europe. Some migrants are able to make the dangerous journey over land or sea with the assistance of smugglers, who often abandon them, especially during sea journeys, after receiving thousands of dollars from each migrant. Others are stopped by Turkish security forces before crossing the border into Europe.
He also emphasized that Bulgaria's positive approach toward Turkey is valuable within the EU particularly, referring to the country's decades-long membership negotiation process with the union.
Turkey has been preparing a new initiative to accelerate the accession process to the European Union. Accordingly, Turkey will complete regulations for six more chapters, including the fight against terrorism. Relations between Turkey and the EU entered a complicated period due to the EU's negative stance against Turkey following the July 2016 failed coup. Emergency measures taken by Turkey following the coup attempt drew negative criticism from the EU.
Signing a partnership agreement with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1963, Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, became a member country in 1999 and accession talks began in 2005. But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections of the Greek Cypriot Administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.
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