Netherlands and Turkey want closer cooperation

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Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan will sign an agreement in Wassenaar on Wednesday to strengthen ties between the two countries.

26 March 2008

WASSENAAR – Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan will sign an agreement in Wassenaar on Wednesday to strengthen ties between the two countries.

On the same day Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven will depart for a two-day visit to Turkey, aimed at closer economic cooperation.

Important topics of discussion between the Dutch and Turkish ministers were Turkey's accession to the EU, its role as transhipment country for the transport of energy to Europe, and trade relations.

The Netherlands is pleased with the pro-European course of the Turkish government and the reforms it has announced.

"The prospect of accession to the European Union is an important stimulus for necessary reforms in Turkey in the areas of democratisation, legal security and human rights," Verhagen said on Wednesday.

The Netherlands will follow through on its promises on Turkish accession if the country satisfies all the requirements, the so-called Copenhagen criteria.

Verhagen says Turkey holds the keys to enter the EU, and hopes that Turkey will continue the positive trend of the past months.

Verhagen says Turkey can create a bridge between Europe and the Islamic countries of the Middle East, and contribute significantly to stability in the region. "Turkey demonstrates that Islam and democracy can exist side by side," the CDA minister said.

Turkey can also be an important link in energy provision to Europe. Verhagen mentioned the Nabucco project, which involves plans for a pipeline to provide Europe from gas from the Caspian Sea.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

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