Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Slovakia will speed up his country's long-standing EU accession process during its term presidency in the organization in 2016.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava on Tuesday, Erdogan said Turkey attached high importance to Slovakia's term of presidency in the EU in 2016's second term.
He said: "Slovakia will take over the term presidency in the EU in 2016. I wish them good luck in advance and believe that Slovakia will speed up this process, which sometimes came to the blocking point."
Erdogan also highlighted Turkey's trade volume aim with Slovakia, saying the current $1.4 billion dollar volume "can be increased to $5 billion".
He said: "Energy and defence industry fields stand out to realize this target.
"Science, technology and research and development fields can be considered as well."
"Hopefully in May we will take a big step towards it. Preparations to launch the Turkey - Slovakia Science Innovation and Trade Permanent Forum are ongoing," he added.
EU membership 'deserved'
Erdogan explained his country required no visa from the Slovakian people, adding: "Because of that, a total of 137,000 people from Slovakia came to Turkey last year."
"As soon as the EU lifts the visa requirements, the total of Turkish people visiting Slovakia will boost immensely."
Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska also discussed Turkey's EU process, saying Turkey "deserved to be in the EU after the progress it achieved under Erdogan's leadership".
He said: "As much as the EU is important for Turkey, Turkey is important for the EU as well.
"As Slovakia, we support Turkey on their EU accession process and we work together politically and economically."
Kiska also highlighted the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, saying: "Turkey is a dependable, key country for Europe."