Turkey supports Montenegro’s EU bid, says President Erdogan

By Anadolu Agency

Turkey on Friday reiterated its support for the Montenegro’s accession process to the EU.

“We sincerely encourage and support the full accession of Montenegro, our NATO ally, to the EU,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference with his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic in Istanbul.

Montenegro applied for EU membership in 2008 and was granted candidate status in December 2010. Accession negotiations started in June 2012.

Erdogan said Turkey paid particular attention to the maintenance of stability in southeastern Europe and the region’s economic development, adding that Montenegro, as an “important part” of the Balkans and Europe, makes important contributions to peace and stability.

“Relations between Turkey and Montenegro are at the highest level,” Erdogan stressed, adding that the two countries share a common history and culture, along with strong people-to-people and kinship ties.

The president added that the two countries aim to reach a bilateral trade volume of $250 million.

“The total of Turkish investments in Montenegro exceeded $67 million. The number of Turkish investor companies is 3,800. This is of course a very important step,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has carried out more than 400 projects and activities in Montenegro with a total value of more than €20 million ($21.3 million), he added.

Djukanovic, for his part, said he discussed several issues, including economy and defense, with Erdogan.

He underlined the need for the two countries to use their economic potentials.

Hailing Erdogan for his mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine since the war erupted between them in February, Djukanovic said: “I have great respect for Mr. Erdogan for his contributions.”