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Joint Press Conference by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and H.E. Mr. Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, 3 April 2015, Vilnius

Linas Linkevicius: The situation in the region, and it also receives a lot of refugees. These problems are very sensitive and important, we also find them very relevant in the UN Council as these problems are discussed there as well. We also talked about Ukraine and the Russian policy in Crimea. All of these topics are very important to Turkey as well because we have to talk about the rights of the Tatar minority and the Tatar rights’ violations, the only TV channel Tatar language in the Crimea has been closed down as well. So we’ve discussed all of these topics in our meeting today.

We have a lot of common interest in terms of the dialogue between Turkey and the EU. Lithuania, during it presidency in the Council, was very active in supporting Turkey’s membership. We have achieved a significant progress then and we do hope that the progress will not lose its momentum in the future as well. Turkey is a strategic partner of the EU and Lithuania as well and we see many opportunities to achieve common results here. The NATO Cooperation is very important as well. Turkey is an excellent ally in NATO, so we also agree in our mission in NATO and Brussels.

It is very important to talk about the implementation of the decisions taken in the Wales Summit meeting. Turkey has expressed its support. Let me remind you that together with Turkey, we set up the energy security center of NATO in Vilnius. So we are very grateful to Turkey for its support and also for its participation in the NATO policing activities. We do hope that our integration in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will start. So that would be all for me.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: Thank you very much. Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m pleased to be in Lithuania today, accepting the invitation of my dear friend, Foreign Minister Linkevičius, as you know we met in Ankara in December. It was a very fruitful meeting and this morning I was received by Prime Minister and I’m very happy to be received by Her Excellency President this afternoon at 1:00 pm.

Turkey is one of the first countries opening an Embassy in Vilnius following the end of the Cold War and in the last couple of years, the reciprocal high level visits gave a new momentum to our bilateral relations. President of Lithuania, Her Excellency Grybauskaitė visited Turkey in December and two Presidents set a new target for our bilateral trade volume. In 10 years, we doubled our bilateral trade volume, last year we reached 560 million dollars and the new target set by our Presidents is 1 billion dollars. Together we will reach this target. There are new tools and mechanisms that we can use, we established a Joint Economic and Trade Commission during the visit of Her Excellency President to Turkey.

We held the first business forum in Turkey and we are looking forward to holding the second business forum in Lithuania and we are looking forward to host the first JETCO meeting in Turkey. We can also cooperate in several sectors; tourism, textile, energy, transportation and constructions are the areas we can make some advancements and we can cooperate to reach 1 billion dollars target.

Today we discussed all these issues. We have been enjoying the excellent political relations and we are doing our best to further improve our cooperation and relations in other areas. We are very grateful for the full support of Lithuania to the Turkish EU accession process and it’s one of the issues we discussed. We need to open more chapters and Lithuania gives us full support. We fully support Lithuania’s NATO membership and now we are enjoying the excellent partnership in NATO as well. Turkey is fully supporting Lithuania’s OECD membership and we shared our thoughts regarding Lithuanian OECD membership during the meeting as well and Lithuania has been also supporting Turkey’s candidature to the respective organizations in the past and I hope in the future as well.

Today we discussed regional issues. I tried to inform my counterpart on what’s going on in Syria and in Iraq-related developments. We also shared our thoughts and opinions regarding Crimea, Crimean Tatars. I’m very happy to see that we share the same concerns regarding all these issues and we will continue discussing other regional issues during the working lunch, particularly Yemen, as well as Libya and the situation in Iran and the nuclear deal.

Once again, thank you very much for the invitation and for the very warm welcome my dear friends here.

Question: There is an agreement in Lausanne yesterday about Iran talks. Tehran and West agreed on parameters of deal of Iran’s nuclear program. What do you think? The question is for both Ministers. For Mr. Çavuşoğlu, how will it affect Turkey? Thank you.

Linas Linkevicius: Okay thank you for the question, first of we’re all very happy and we congratulate all these parties which for the last 8 days thoroughly discussed the issue, it wasn’t even easy and it’s not yet final deal as you know. It’s a pre-agreement but nevertheless a very important breakthrough. We believe this is a very good start. We hope that this framework agreement will be implemented to the final deal by the end of June. That will make our world safer as we all believe. So, for many years, many times and it’s not less important to verify what was agreed to have very efficient mechanism of verification and the facts are important, the promises are important but maybe the most important thing is this mechanism of confidence and we hope that the parties are ready to do that. So that would really facilitate a safer world frankly, not only for the region but also for all of us. So that would be briefly our comment and we really welcome this deal.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: Well, as Turkey, we are pleased that negotiations held between P5+1 and Iran in Lausanne has ended in a political understanding. First of all, I’m happy to see a consensus on general framework of a final agreement and I hope the parties will reach a final agreement by the first of July of this year. Turkey together with Brazil also spend a lot of efforts to convince Iran and we signed an agreement in 2010 unfortunately that agreement was not supported. When we look at the positions of the P5+1 and Iran right now, Iran is still beyond the line that we were able to bring in 2010, but I hope Iran will come to the same line by the end of June and as Turkey, we are very happy that this deal was made yesterday and we would like to congratulate all sides for the reconciliation and for the flexible approach.

Turkey is in principle against any kind of nuclear weapons in Iran, in Israel or in any other countries and we are against nuclear weapons and Turkey is building 2 nuclear energy power plants, nuclear energy can be used in peaceful means or areas but we are against nuclear weapons. Therefore, we welcome this development. Thank you.

Question: Question for Turkish Foreign Minister, what are the plans for Turkish government to support operation in Yemen? Are you planning some further steps soon?

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: Turkey supports a political solution, not only in Yemen but also in Libya, as well as in Syria. There has been a political transformation in Iraq and we have seen the outcome of this, even though they still have problems and difficulties and we fully supports the inclusive government in Iraq. We need to see inclusive, national unity governments in Syria, in Libya and in Yemen right now. What Houthis are doing in Yemen is unacceptable and they are destabilizing the country and we gave our support to the operations but there has not been any further demand from them.

I am very happy for Montenegro. So, what I mean is problem is the political, not technical. We are ready to open and negotiate any technical chapters and any technical issues with the European Union and opening Chapter 17, Economic and Monetary Policy is good, but we are ready to open and negotiate even more difficult chapters. Chapter 23 and Chapter 24 and within a new approach, these two chapters are opened with Montenegro first, because it takes long time to negotiate these chapters and they are difficult ones. Even some of the current member states have not fulfilled it or have not met the closing benchmark of these two chapters yet. So, therefore we are ready to open even more difficult chapters, or any chapters and I’m very grateful to Lithuania and other friends that are fully supporting to open more chapters and for their general support to Turkey’s EU membership. Thank you.

- Thank you very much.