Turkey, World

Finland backs Turkey EU integration, says minister

Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini says Helsinki remains 'unconditional' friend of Turkey

11.01.2017
Finland backs Turkey EU integration, says minister

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA

Finland backs Turkey's EU accession process, the country’s foreign minister, Timo Soini, said on Wednesday.

Speaking in Ankara on the third day of the 9th Ambassadors’ Conference in the Turkish capital, Soini said: "My country wants Turkey to be close to Europe and its values."

Soini said Finland was a friend of Turkey "unconditionally" and both countries shared the same democratic values.

The minister said both Turkey and the EU had "significant" mutual interests.

"Both Turkey and EU would benefit from continuing accession negotiations. Finland considers Turkey's accession negotiations to the EU [to be] very important," said Soini.

Soini said Finland remained committed to accession negotiations and maintained "open" dialogue with Turkey.

He also appreciated Turkey for hosting more than three million refugees.

"I look forward to further developing cooperation with Turkey and working together for stability, prosperity and well-being," he added.

Before giving the floor to Soini, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Finland had been the strongest supporter of Turkey's EU membership.

"Finland and Turkey have been cooperating in many areas not only in Europe, but even beyond," said Cavusoglu.

Turkey applied for membership of the EU in 1987; accession talks began in 2005.

However, negotiations reached a stalemate in 2007. The German and French governments have opposed full EU membership for Turkey.

To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters which involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

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