Turkey, Politics

Turkish parliament speaker visits Spain, meets top officials

Mustafa Sentop meets Spanish counterpart, Spanish Senate head, experts, professors, emphasizing strengthening relations

Senhan Bolelli   | 20.09.2021
Turkish parliament speaker visits Spain, meets top officials


Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop met with the president of Spain’s Congress of Deputies on Monday.

Meeting with Meritxell Batet at the assembly building in Madrid, Sentop signed the assembly’s memorial book.

“The Turkish and Spanish amity and their characteristics that value friendship, our universal and democratic values, ​​form the basis of our strategic relations,” Sentop wrote in the book.

Stronger relations between the two countries’ parliaments will bring Turkey and Spain closer, he said, adding that it is Turkey’s “sincere desire” to see Turkish and Spanish parliamentarians working in close cooperation, which will contribute significantly to peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean basin and further bilateral ties.

Sentop later invited his counterpart to visit Turkey, saying that "they want to accelerate the inter-parliamentary dimension of the recently revived relations between the two countries."

"We appreciate Spain's support for our EU membership, which is one of our strategic goals, and its consistent and principled stance on this issue,” he also added.

On rising Islamophobia in Europe, Sentop said they will continue to support the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, which was founded 16 years ago under the co-chairmanship of Turkey and Spain.

Joint efforts against terrorism

On the so-called "Armenian genocide" allegations recently brought to Spain's parliament, Sentop said: "Our country's approach to this issue is clear. The European Court of Human Rights has underlined that an academic debate is taking place on these events. As parliamentarians, we cannot pass judgment on historical events. This is the job of historians."

He also stressed Turkey's proposal for the establishment of a joint historical commission to research the events of 1915.

On the fight against terrorism, Sentop said he believes Turkey and Spain's joint struggle against terrorist groups such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the 2016 failed coup in Turkey – and the YPG/PKK – a terror group responsible for some 40,000 deaths – will continue.

Migration issue

Sentop later met Ander Gil Garcia, the head of Spain’s Senate. Stressing the strategic ties between Turkey and Spain, Sentop told Gil Garcia that "it would be beneficial to further develop our dialogue and cooperation on irregular migration."

Sentop also met with think tank experts and scholars at the Global International Relations Center, affiliated with the IE Business School, and took questions on recent events in Turkey and worldwide.

Turkey has hosted over 4 million Syrian refugees for nearly a decade, he said, adding that the country provides them with all opportunities, including education and health.

"World conditions, paradigms, thoughts keep changing, but the significance of Turkey does not," Sentop said, stressing Turkey's geostrategic importance.

Asked about the situation in Afghanistan, he said if the Taliban interim government were to open the country’s borders, a huge migration flow would follow.

“We should establish conditions that can keep those people in Afghanistan and come up with a policy in light of the country’s realities,” he added.

Sentop and his delegation will also meet Susana Sumelzo, chair of the Joint Congress-Senate Committee for the EU, and Congress of Deputies Foreign Relations Committee head Pau Mari-Klose.

Sentop's meetings were closed to the press due to pandemic measures.

Sentop's visit is the first by a Turkish parliament speaker to Spain in 27 years.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.