Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday praised Turkey’s humanitarian treatment of Syrian refugees and called on the international community to initiate “collective responsibility” for the crisis, in a speech during his official visit in Ankara.
Iohannis spoke to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, hailing last week’s EU-Turkey summit deal on Friday which intends on halting undocumented refugee flows into Europe, providing visa liberation for Turkish citizens and adding an accessory funding to the already spent billions Turkey has provided for its refugees.
The agreement will also open a new chapter for Turkey’s accession process on entering the EU.
Iohannis applauded Turkey for hosting over 2.7 million Syrian refugees while fighting the growth of human trafficking groups.
“We appreciate the significant efforts Turkey is showing towards Syrian refugees, hosting an impressive number of people while effectively contributing to managing the flow of irregular immigration and fighting human trafficking networks,” Iohannis said.
Iohannis emphasised that the refugee crisis is a responsibility involving the international community, not just Turkey.
“We are aware that Turkey cannot and should not bear alone the burden of accommodating the refugees in need for international protection. Offering humanitarian help to those fleeing their home countries because of conflicts is a global and collective responsibility.”
The Romanian politician said “stabilisation of Syria must be a priority” while pledging to help ensure stability in Syria
Iohannis stressed the “economic cooperations and level of investment” between the two countries had been impressive since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s last visit to Romania since last April.
We share a strategic partnership, we are neighboring allies sharing a robust bilateral cooperation and we have close political and social ties, he added, reiterating Romanian support for Turkey’s path on entering the EU.
Turkey has an important role to play, as a key partner for the European Union, he added.
Although Turkey became an associate member of the old European Economic Community in 1963, accession talks did not begin until 2005.
Black Sea Security
Klaus Iohannis said Romania and Turkey both aim to “ensure the security and stability” of the Black Sea region.
He cautioned that the region faces some security threats.
“The security of the Black Sea region has recently been impacted by disregard for international law, with forces ignoring fundamental European security policies and commitments along with a constant military buildup.”
The leader commented on Russia’s illegal intent to seize Crimea and Syria mentioning that Romania witnessed the “illegal annexation of Crimea with a military buildup aimed at projecting power in the region, similar to what is happening in Syria.”
The UN had declared the Crimea seizure illegal, and the international community largely recognises Crimea as part of Ukraine. The EU, US, and other countries imposed sanctions on Russia following the annexation.
“Our countries are working hard to project stability and ensure a coherent approach at the regional level.”
Turkish-Romanian economic ties
One of the top subjects during the Romanian President’s visit was economic cooperations between Turkey, Romania’s number one non-EU trade partner,
“Together with Turkish officials, we will strive to strengthen our cooperation in order to reach the goal of $10 billion in bilateral trade in the years to come,” he added.
Previous frameworks have conferred relations between Turkey and Romania on objectives in bilateral, regional, and international cooperation.