Ambassador Convinced Slovenia-turkey Relations Not Affected By Failed Coup And Subsequent Measures (interview)

Lübliyana Büyükelçiliği 25.07.2016

Ambassador convinced Slovenia-Turkey relations not affected by failed coup and subsequent measures (interview)

Ljubljana, 23 July - Turkish Ambassador Serra Kaleli is convinced the failed coup and subsequent measures to stabilise the country will not affect relations or trade with Slovenia. She also told the STA in an interview there was an institution in Slovenia apparently run by the cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is believed to have been behind the coup attempt.

"There is one language school," Kaleli said, noting that the Turkish authorities had been in contact with the Slovenian side, which knows about it and has been acquainted with the Turkish position.

Kaleli noted that Turkey had demanded Gülen's extradition from the US, noting that all sources pointed to him being behind the coup. His movement has been designated by Ankara as a terrorist organisation.

Kaleli returned from Ankara this week and said the situation has normalised. Asked whether Turkey was now safe for tourists, she answered in the affirmative.

Caution may be needed in major cities, but tourists will go to the seaside and visit historic sites, she said, noting that she did not see any risks for "normal tourists".

For companies operating in Turkey, nothing has changed: they can still turn to the same contacts and all the ministries and offices are working.

"I strongly advise foreign investors to continue doing business with Turkey," she said.

Similarly, she does not expect any changes with regard to student exchange.

Turning to the attempted coup, Kaleli said it was a "very unfortunate development" aimed to overthrow the democratically elected government.

The recent declaration of the state of emergency was therefore understandable. It was put in place for 90 days but she said statements from members of the cabinet indicated it could be lifted in 45-50 days.

She also stressed that the state of emergency was declared in line with the Turkish Constitution and "in full observance of the European Convention on Human Rights".

It would not affect fundamental rights and freedoms of the people but "enable the state authorities to act very fast".

Turkey expects "support and solidarity" from its partners and NATO allies.

As for relations with Slovenia, Kaleli stressed that they were excellent and Slovenia had always supported Turkey's EU aspirations.

Kaleli also noted that the two countries had signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2011 and since then the two countries had "elevated their relations".

She said high-level visits would continue, noting that Prime Minister Miro Cerar had been invited to visit Turkey this year and a session of the bilateral commission for economic cooperation was to be scheduled.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been invited to the Bled Strategic Forum in September and he will hopefully be in attendance, she said.

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