Racism in Europe reaches alarming proportions, says Davutoğlu

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger (L) and Davutoğlu are seen with students at a school in Vienna. (Photo: Reuters)

March 22, 2012, Thursday/ 18:05:00

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu complained on Thursday that racism is on the rise across the European continent, offering neo-Nazi murders in Germany and xenophobic political developments in France and other countries as examples.

During a joint press appearance with his Austrian counterpart, Michael Spindelegger, in Vienna, Davutoğlu told reporters that they discussed how to prevent these kinds of developments from happening.

Davutoğlu and Spindelegger also discussed Turkish-Austrian economic relations, visa liberalization for Turkish business people in Austria and integration of Turkish immigrants in Austrian society, as well as the political situation in the Balkans and the Middle East.

Davutoğlu said Spindelegger promised him his government will support Turkey’s efforts for the removal of visa requirements for Turkish business people in Europe, adding that such visa liberalization will boost trade relations between Turkey and the EU.

With $2.18 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey, Austria led the EU countries currently investing in Turkey in the first eight months of 2011, according to a Balance of Payment Statistics report released by the Central Bank of Turkey in October 2011.

Davutoğlu was also accepted by Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Thursday.

As new clashes flared across the Syrian border on Thursday despite a fresh call from the UN for a cease-fire, Davutoğlu also addressed the international community from Vienna seeking a joint course of action against the regime’s violence in the country.

Davutoğlu targeted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for not quelling the violence despite his repeated promises to that effect. “It seems that Assad is trying to buy time. A joint course of action against Syria is a must,” Davutoğlu said. Wrapping up his talks in Austria, Davutoğlu headed to Brussels on Thursday evening to attend the 2nd Turkey-EU Political Dialogue meeting, focusing on the situation in Syria and Iran.

EU’s chief foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, foreign ministers of EU member and candidate countries are attending the talks. The first political dialogue meeting between Turkey and the EU was held in July 2010 in İstanbul’s Çırağan Palace.

Bağış: Neither Turkey nor EU can exclude each other

Turkey’s chief EU negotiator and State Minister Egemen Bağış on Thursday said neither the European Union nor Turkey could afford to shut their doors on each other, adding that relations were too complicated to cross off. “Neither the EU nor Turkey have the luxury to say ‘no’ to each other. Our relations have never been this dependent before,” Bağış told a roundtable meeting with Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson in İstanbul.

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