Photograph: EPA/Noemi Bruzak HUNGARY OUT

The European Union and the rest of the world, faced with terrorism and other threats, are at a turning point and they must be ready to make strong decisions, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said at the opening of the annual Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit in Istanbul on Thursday.

This is a turning point for the European Union and the global community which are faced with terrorism and other threats. We cannot pretend any longer that this is the time of peace and we must stand united and face reality, Grabar-Kitarovic said in her speech at the summit which started by paying respects to the victims of terrorist attacks, not only those killed in last week in Paris, but all victims of extremist violence over the past year. 

We need to stop taking security for granted. The world has changed, the Croatian president said, adding that EU member states had unanimously supported France's request to invoke Article 42 a never used clause of the EU treaty, triggering mutual defence among the 28 member states.

During the most difficult times of our history, a true leadership had always depended on a joint comprehensive approach based on trust, solidarity and courage to make strong decisions, Grabar-Kitarovic said, calling for action and unity.

In his keynote speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the problem of refugees which Turkey had so far handled on its own, which posed an enormous economic burden.

However, his country was unable to close its doors to refugees.

There are half a million refugees from Syria in Istanbul alone, he said. "The international community does not have the luxury to say that Turkey will handle this on its own."

"We are at a crossroads in the fight against terrorism after the Paris attacks," Erdogan told the meeting of the Atlantic Council think-tank in Istanbul. He added that a special resolution on standing united in fighting terrorism was adopted at the recently held Summit G20.

Erdogan underlined that it was wrong to associate any religion or nationality with terrorism. "I strongly condemn the terrorists, who believe in the same religion as me, and I am calling on all leaders of Muslim countries to put up a united front," he said.

Grabar-Kitarovic also spoke about the informal initiative Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea, the purpose of which is the strengthening of central European cooperation on the political, economic and security fronts. She added that gathering countries from that region was "a strong foundation for the release of the full economic potential.

The annual Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit started today and is being attended by over 600 distinguished speakers from 40 countries. This year’s theme, “Building Global Stability and Business Resilience in Volatile Times,” will focus on “examining business opportunities, economic and energy developments, and geopolitical challenges in a region that is currently at the crossroads of history,” according to the event’s official website. 

Latest news

Danish premier and opposition leader reject EU referendum

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the leader of the main opposition Social Democrats both reject staging a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union as suggested by eurosceptics.

French PM slams "irresponsible" Fillon over "near-civil war" comment

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve hit back Monday at conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, accusing him of being "irresponsible" for saying the race was taking place in a climate of "near-civil war."

Serbia opens two more policy areas in its EU accession talks

Serbia on Monday opened two new policy areas in its EU entry talks, thus bringing the number of opened policy areas to eight.

EC: Economic sentiment for Croatia deteriorates in February

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI), a composite indicator made up of five sectoral confidence indicators, deteriorated for Croatia in February with the subdued confidence of companies from the services and retail sectors having a higher weight than improving consumers' confidence, according to a report released by the European Commission on Monday.

Frankfurt, London exchange operators' stock fall on merger doubts

Shares in the operators of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Deutsche Boerse fell sharply on Monday after the LSE threw fresh doubts on their planned 29-billion-euro (30.1-billion-dollar) merger to forge Europe's biggest exchange.

ICJ asks Bosnia's leadership to state its position on review request

The State Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to make a clear statement as to whether it supports the request for a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) genocide ruling against Serbia, the Croat member of the country's three-member presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Monday.

White Helmets, grateful for Oscar nod, hope for peace in Syria

Members of the Syria Civil Defence group, a neutral team of some 3,000 volunteers providing aid to Syria's rebel-held areas, expressed joy on Monday that a film documenting their work won an Oscar for best short documentary.

Arson attack at French cultural institute in Athens

Unknown assailants have carried out an arson attack on the French cultural institute in Athens, the fire brigade and police reported on Monday.

INA Group posts core business profit of HRK 607 mn

The INA oil and gas group made positive results in 2016, with profit from operations reaching HRK 607 million, compared to a HRK 1.34 billion loss for 2015, the Zagreb-headquartered group stated in a consolidated financial report issued on Monday.

Report: Former Croatian football star Cvetkovic found dead

The former Yugolsavia international and Bundesliga defender Zvezdan Cvetkovic has died, the Croatian state broadcaster HRT reported Monday.

Youth who posted anti-Serb stickers in Vukovar placed in custody

Following a police investigation, a 19-year-old youth from the eastern town of Vukovar, suspected of posting anti-Serb stickers on bus stops along the town's Trpinjska Street, has been placed in custody on the suspicion of inciting violence and hatred, the county police department said on Monday.

US strongly condemns neo-Nazi march in Zagreb

The US Embassy in Zagreb on Monday strongly condemned neo-Nazi and pro-Ustasha views expressed during a demonstration by several dozen people, organised by the non-parliamentary far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) in Zagreb on Sunday.