Spain’s Patriots may stay in Turkey for 6 more months

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  • June 1, 2019
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Madrid is in a process of deciding the extension of Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey's southern Adana province for the next six months, Spanish ambassador in Ankara said.

Battery of Patriot missiles were deployed in Incirlik Airbase [in Adana province] at the request of Turkey through NATO. We are in the process of deciding extension for the next six months, Juan Gonzalez-Barba told Anadolu Agency.

Spain's Patriot air defense missiles were deployed in Adana in 2015. The missiles were deployed as part of Turkey's request for NATO assistance.

Gonzalez-Barba said that a total of 25 Spanish soldiers are currently operating in the NATO Command in Turkey's western city of Izmir.

He added Navantia -- a Spanish state-owned engineering and technology company -- was responsible for designing and constructing TCG Anadolu aircraft carrier.

Turkey's accession to EU

Spanish ambassador said the EU would gain after Turkey's accession.

"We think that not only Turkey but the EU would gain from such a newcomer, we believe Turkey has so much to offer to the EU," Gonzalez-Barba said.

"Turkey should be treated equally as the rest of [EU] candidates," he said, adding Turkey, for its part, also needed to meet some criteria.

He went on to say that he did not know when Turkey would make it to the union, however, "it will end success for all of us."

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.

However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections by the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.

Friendly relations with Turkey

Gonzalez-Barba said Ankara and Madrid have been enjoying a friendly relationship, adding both counties shared historical ties that reflect on the present military, economic and cultural relations.

He said the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached Euros 13 billion ($14.6 billion) in 2018 and both countries had invested significantly towards each other.

The ambassador stressed that Spanish companies invested in strategic sectors such as banking. Spanish banking and finance company BBVA was a "major stakeholder" in Garanti Bank of Turkey, he noted.

In addition, Spain's Inditex -- one of the world's largest fashion retailers -- and insurance company Mapfre operate in Turkey, improving countries' fiscal ties.

Cultural interaction

"I know that La Casa De Papel is very famous here in Turkey. I've just read that one big Spanish media group, Atresmedia, has bought the rights of five or six Turkish TV series after the success of first two that were screened for the last two years," the ambassador said.

He added Spain and Turkey also share cultural interaction through sports events, for instance, Turkish football player Arda Turan -- who won La Liga title with Atletico Madrid in 2014 -- became one of the most famous Turkish figures after Suleiman the Magnificient for the Spanish public opinion.

Historical ties

Gonzalez-Barba underlined that both countries have enjoyed positive relations dating back to centuries ago when the Spanish and Ottoman Empire hammered a peace treaty.

We feel very close to Turkey, another Mediterranean country on the other side of the Mediterranean basin. Since two former empires, Spanish Empire and Ottoman Empire, signed peace agreement in 1782, for some 250 years, the relationships have been [based on] friendship," he said.

He said the bilateral ties have grown stronger since Spain became a member of the European Union and Turkey strengthened its relationship with the EU through Customs Union in 1995.

Source: Anadolu Agency