Irish President Mary McAleese said Tuesday Ireland always supports Turkey's full membership to the European Union (EU) and aims to boost relations with the country, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
Becoming an EU member is a difficult process but is a vision that deserves struggle, McAleese told a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul during a state visit to Turkey.
Gul thanked the Irish president for the support and vowed to forge closer ties with Ireland in tourism, education, trade and investment.
He said annual trade volume between Turkey and Ireland stands at around 1 billion euros.
McAleese said Turkey and Ireland have historical ties despite geographical distance and around 120,000 Irish citizens visit Turkey as tourists every year.
Ireland wants to boost trade volume with Turkey and will be happy to host Turkish students, she noted.
The EU launched accession talks with Turkey in October 2005 but has only opened 12 chapters, or negotiating areas, out of 35 that are required so far.