Carrots and sticks: Turkey praises Greek EU commissioner Avramopoulos

The wisdom of EU commissioner for migration enabled Turkey and the EU to write success stories amid compelling challenges, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

Cavusoglu hosted EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos at the 11th Ambassadors’ Conference in the capital Ankara.

He said Avramopoulos’ successful term as the EU commissioner has come to an end but it is “way too early” for retirement.

“So we look forward to continue working with you after your term with the European Union,” he added.

The minister said European politicians usually focus on narrow political gains, instead of focusing on long term broader interests, and those politicians who appreciate Turkey’s role for the EU are unfortunately fewer than before.

“Dimitri is definitely not one of them. He has been a sincere supporter of Turkey-EU relations,” Cavusoglu said.

He also said it was a privilege to work with Avramopoulos on migration and other issues at a “very difficult period”.

“His wisdom and leadership enabled Turkey and the EU to write success stories on the face of compelling challenges,” the minister added.

‘Greece very important country’

Cavusoglu said Avramopoulos has also been a promoter of Turkish-Greek relations throughout his career.

“Greece is a very important country for us. We are neighbors, allies,” he said.

Cavusoglu said Ankara and Athens do have some problems and Turkey does not underestimate them, but the countries have to work together for the next generations.

“We can also explore the opportunities, it is all in our hands,” he added.