Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Tirana for an official visit today. A statement from the Turkish foreign ministry yesterday stated that the topic on the agenda will include the EU accession process and opportunities for cooperation.
“Bilateral relations with brotherly Albania as well as cooperation opportunities will be discussed; experiences on the EU accession processes will be shared while views on regional and international issues will be exchanged during the visit.”
Following the 26 November earthquake, Turkish President Erdogan pledged to build 500 apartments for victims.
Exit confirmed on the ground that not only has the Turkish monument at Lake Park been restored ready for the visit but the security has been significantly beefed up. Guards are on-site and at least four security cameras, allegedly overseen by the Turkish Embassy, have been installed nearby.
The monument to commemorate those that died during the failed 2016 coup attempt, was vandalized in 2019 following widespread controversy from members of the public. Many questioned why such a memorial was necessary in Albania, others pointed out that it was raised in complete lack of transparency, and many voiced concerns over the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Turkish government including their crackdown on journalists, academics, freedom of speech, and Kurdish minorities.
Albania was also recently criticized for deporting a Turkish Citizen, in breach of his human rights. Harun Celik was found with fake documents at Rinas Airport and despite requesting asylum he was deported at the request of the Turkish government, without being able to appeal the decision. The move was widely condemned.