Turkey is not just a partner but a NATO ally, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Arancha Gonzalez Laya told Anadolu Agency (AA) in an exclusive interview, adding that NATO allies share cooperation on sensitive issues like security.
"It's not only that Turkey is a partner, Turkey is a NATO ally, not just a friend. In NATO, you don't have friends, you have allies, which is much more than a friend," Gonzalez said.
"It's someone with whom you share something as important as your own security. This is what Spain shares with Turkey. It shares a missile battery that we have here in this country that helps protect this country against third countries," Gonzalez added.
Gonzalez also said there is a concern on the side of the European Union about some moves that Turkey has taken in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, and on the issue of migration.
"I'm sure that Turkey has also sensitivities over steps that Europe takes, so it's not a game of accusations. It's a game of understanding what's the perspective of the other side. It's only when you understand when you listen to the other side that you will be able to find a way forward," she said.
Turkey is the first country outside the EU she has visited since the COVID-19 crisis, Gonzalez noted.
"It was a promise I had made to (Turkish) Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. During the pandemic, we had spoken very often on the phone. We had been in a dialogue over supplies, over the repatriation of nationals, as well as over a number of issues happening in the region, whether in the Eastern Mediterranean, in Libya and Syria, so I had promised that I would be coming to visit him in Ankara," she said.
Gonzalez said she and Çavuşoğlu discussed bilateral issues, matters of health surrounding the COVID-19 crisis and EU-Turkey relations.
"It was important because for some time now, there had been a bit of escalation in tensions, and when there are tensions, it's good to sit down, to talk, to dialogue, to understand, and if possible, try to channel the disagreements that sometimes exist between countries in a peaceful manner," she said.
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