Albanian PM Rama praises Turkish President Erdoğan’s policies, slams EU

Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hold a press conference after their meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 4, 2017

Edi Rama, the prime minister of Albania, has praised the foreign policy pursued by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and harshly criticised the European Union’s policy on Kosovo during an interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

“My relationship with President Erdoğan started before I even met him,” Rama said and added: “I was amazed by his incredible work as the mayor of İstanbul. … Afterwards, I had a chance to meet him in person and our relations blossomed based on mutual respect.”

Referring to developments in the region, Rama described the EU’s policy on Kosovo as a “great shame.” “I have clearly said that I disagree with the EU over the isolation of Kosovo and the fact that it is the only society that does not have the right to freedom of movement throughout the continent,” said Rama.

Albania and Kosovo are seeking membership candidacy, while Serbia and Montenegro from the Western Balkans are negotiating for EU membership. Kosovo is the only Western Balkan country without visa liberalization with EU member states.

“Islamophobia is the curse of the new era,” Rama said. “The forces in the most developed countries of the EU, or certain individuals, are fueling this very dangerous fire. It is not just about Islam, but about people who believe in Islam and who represent Islam’s moderation, a great injustice to societies, communities, and families.”

“Islamophobia and Turkophobia discourses are arrogant discourses arising from ignorance. Attacking Islamic religion and exhibiting an Islamophobic attitude is actually an attack on the essential roots of the Albanian fruit and on the source of existence of our nationality,”  he added.

Rama also said Albania would prevent the Gülen movement from influencing its education system. “We are very careful with this issue,” he stated.

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