Thorbjorn Jagland: Turkey belongs to Europe, which would suffer without Turkey
Turkey belongs to Europe, and if Turkey were ever to be pushed away from Europe, the continent would suffer “many more problems than it experiences today,” Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland told on Feb. 16, turkish media outlets reports.
“I will say to those Europeans who want to push Turkey away, if that happens, they will also see that Europe will have many more problems than we are have today. We depend on each other and we should realize that we a part of a bigger picture that everybody is dependent on,” Jagland said.
Following meetings held with nine Turkish leaders including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül on Feb. 15 in Turkey’s capital Ankara, Jagland told daily Hürriyet that the country’s European accession talks are very important for both sides.
“As I see it, Europe needs Turkey because there are so many Turks and Muslims living in European countries. Turkey could help a lot by reconciling societies that are quite divided now,” Jagland said.
“Turkey should also think and understand that having a united Europe - a legal space from the high north to the southern Caucasus - is a good thing for Turkey. Turkey being a part of this legal space is no burden. On the contrary, the fact that Turkey is a part of this wide legal space gives a certain confidence to those who want to do business in this country,” he said.
Asked about Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the Afrin district of Syria, Jagland said: “The Council of Europe is not involved in such issues. This is for other international organizations. We strongly condemn any kind of terrorism. But we are not involved in military conflicts.”