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Tuesday, 29 October

PM Victor Ponta: I congratulate Turkey for the historic project that it inaugurated today and which represents a new “silk road” linking Europe and Asia

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I would want first to wish the Turkish people, the Government, all authorities, the best wishes on the 90 th anniversary of the Republic proclamation, to thank for the invitation to attend today the inauguration of a truly historic project, connecting Europe to Asia, achieved in the last years, through a huge project, a project of an extraordinary symbolism. It is indeed a project worth appreciating, and I want to address the most sincere congratulations to those who, alongside the Prime Minister, the local authorities in Istanbul, companies involved, all those who contributed for this historic project to be translated into reality. Obviously, for Romania as for the entire Europe, the sub-sea rail tunnel and I know that other infrastructure projects are to be completed, and other infrastructure projects as well, of road communications, a bridge, a new bridge across Bosporus, all these mean a connection, a new silk road, linking Europe to Asia, everything crossing Istanbul, and I am sure that Turkey first, but also Europe and Asia will benefit from these truly historic projects. I want to show once again that I was extremely honored to be guest to this historic moment, and I want to thank the Prime Minister for this opportunity, to represent the Government and Romania in altogether special day, for Turkey and the two continents. I want to reaffirm the fact that the relations between the two countries represent a partnership for Romania, a strategic and a political partnership, and we have coordination and consultation on the main topics of foreign policy, a military partnership, within NATO, and an extremely important economic partnership. In this respect, economic projects about which the two Governments have discussed, and continue to discuss, pertain to relations in the energy, transports, agriculture and other areas of economic development. I discussed one month and a half ago, on the visit to Ankara, about a much improved system of granting visas for businesspeople and together with both Governments, the Foreign Ministries will take care that this system be implemented, and ensure the easier access of businesspeople, first, and to all the citizens of both countries to the visa system. Also, we discussed together about the constant and extremely determined support that Romania in all EU forums, extends to the relationship with Turkey, integration in the partnership process, between EU and Turkey. I very much rejoiced that on the October 22 meeting, we support the opening of negotiations on the regional policy chapter. Regional policy for Turkey means regional policy for Romania. We are two countries that have so many common interests and nothing to separate us in this region, and obviously, Romania will always be a very constant and determined advocate of positive negotiations between the EU and Turkey. I want to thank in particular the Prime Minister, Mr Erdoğan , for the support given to the historical and cultural events between the two countries. I do not forget that in 2004, on the anniversary of 500 years after the passing away of a great Romanian ruler , Prime Minister Erdoğan handed then Prime Minister of Romania, Adrian Nastase , a copy of Stephen the Great’s Sword , located here at Topkapi . Today, with the support of the Turkish Government and the Prime Minister, we unveiled a memorial plaque in honor of another Romanian ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu . Next year, there will be 300 years since his death . Our common history , as it was, with good things and bad things, is an additional argument that for Turkey and Romania, present and future mean friendship, collaboration and joint development . And I want to say again that , for Romania , Turkey is indeed a special friend and partner . Once again I want to bring the most sincere wishes for a Happy National Day, to congratulate Turkey for the historical project that it opened today and to thank for the opportunity to participate in this moment, which would certainly be recorded for many years since now. Thank you. And once again, congratulations!

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Reporter : You mentioned Mr. Ponta Romania's connection with the project which makes basically the link between London and Beijing. How does Romania relate to this railway or which is our involvement in this project?

Victor Ponta : In this project of Turkey, we had no involvement , but we can be the beneficiaries as well.

Reporter : What? That is the question .

Victor Ponta : Today, at a meeting with the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Government of Turkey, Madam Minister of Transport, Mrs Mănescu accompanied me , just to discuss the expansion of a European project initiated by Lithuania and that Romania will join on December 4 , the " Viking " railway transport of goods, a project that we want , and we will discuss with the Turkish authorities to expand to Istanbul too, and, of course , through Istanbul, to the Near East. Basically, passenger and freight transport from northern Europe, from Western Europe to Asia , normally in large part and to the extent that Romania will have adequate infrastructure , passes through Romania - Romania - Bulgaria - Turkey - and farther into Asia. And it is an opportunity for Romania to participate in the new large commodity routes between Europe and Asia.  

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