Swiss seek ‘open and constructive’ dialogue during visit by Turkish minister

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis (right) and Turkish counterpart Mevluet Cavusoglu during the Bern press conference Keystone / Peter Schneider

Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Bern on Friday where he reiterated its good offices offer to resolve the issue with Cyprus.

This content was published on August 15, 2020 - 12:17

This is Çavuşoğlu's second visit to Switzerland in two years and follows a visit by Cassis to Ankara last summer when both agreed to further bilateral relations.

"Turkey is a very important partner for Switzerland, and we intend to pursue an open and constructive dialogue," said Cassis in a press statement. Switzerland is the eighth largest international investor in Turkey and over 300 Swiss companies operate in the country. There is also a large Turkish diaspora in Switzerland.

The ministers discussed the impact of Covid-19 and a range of economic issues including the free trade agreement between the European free trade area (EFTA) countries and Turkey, which is currently stuck in the Turkish parliament. Both countries reaffirmed their interest in finalising the treaty.

Cassis also praised Turkey's efforts to stabilize the situation in Libya that have helped manage the migration situation along the Mediterranean route.

The Swiss minister also reiterated the country’s good offices offer that was made last year to help de-escalate tensions and resolve the conflict over gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions in the region have escalated since Turkey announced plans in 2018 to carry out gas exploration in disputed waters.

"It is in Switzerland's interests to continue on the path of open and constructive dialogue with Turkey," said Cassis.

According to a government statement, issues relating to human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, in particular respect for freedom of expression, were also discussed. Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey had "no problems" with freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

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