Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö met for talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara on Tuesday, including discussions with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan focused on the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria. President Niinistö said after the talks that he had urged Turkey to continue with reforms aimed at possible EU membership.
During the morning on Tuesday, as a part of official ceremonies President Niinistö laid a wreath at the grave of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Kemal Atatürk. In a brief message in the memorial book at the tomb, President Niinistö wrote that Finland condemns all terrorism.
Niinistö also expressed condolences to the people of Turkey over the bomb attack in Ankara on Saturday that killed over 100 peace marchers.
During the day, President Niinistö held talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlun, before meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The two presidents discussed bilateral relations between Finland and Turkey and Turkey’s relations with the EU. Other issues included the situation in the Middle East and international migration, as well as peace mediation in which Finland and Turkey have been cooperating within the framework of the UN.
«Europe needs Turkey»
Following the talks, President Niinistö said that he had encouraged Turkey, which is looking to join the EU, to continue with reforms. He pointed out that Finland has long encouraged Turkey’s membership goal.
«Europe needs Turkey now more than ever. Turkey has carried the greatest responsibility in helping the refugees,» stated Niinistö.
For his part, Erdoğan said that Finland and Turkey have always had good relations and he listed the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria as topics covered in their talks.
President Niinistö’s programme continues on Wednesday in Istanbul, where a seminar on Finnish and Turkish economic relations is being held. Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn and a delegation of Finnish business leaders are also taking part in the gathering.