Norway and Turkey signed two research cooperation agreements in Ankara today, one in the area of statistics and one on conflict prevention and reconciliation efforts. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed to establish a dialogue on human rights issues discussed at the UN and in the European Council and the OSCE.
The cooperation agreement between Statistics Norway and the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) will focus on developing population and business registers, macroeconomic consultancy services and surveys in third countries in Central Asia and the Middle East.
An agreement between Norway and Turkey was also signed on intensifying cooperation on conflict prevention and reconciliation issues. The agreement provides for increased cooperation between Norwegian and Turkish research groups working in this field, with a particular focus on the Middle East.
The topics discussed at the meeting between Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Erdogan also included the economic situation in Europe, trade and industry cooperation, energy, and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Turkey, by virtue of its strategic location, high ambitions and expertise, is an exciting partner for Norway in a growing number of areas. Closer cooperation between our countries was also warmly welcomed by my colleague, Prime Minister Erdogan, at the meeting today,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Civil rights issues were also discussed at the meeting:
“Turkey has seen progress in a number of fields, for instance with regard to women’s rights and cultural and linguistic rights for the Kurdish population. However, there are still issues that need to be addressed, such as freedom of expression. So, I am pleased that we have agreed to establish a dialogue between our two countries on human rights issues discussed at the UN and in the European Council and the OSCE,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Earlier in the day, Mr Stoltenberg also had meetings with President Abdullah Gul, Speaker of the Parliament Cemil Cicek and leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu.