erdogan turska.jpg
Photograph: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay an official visit to Croatia on Tuesday and Wednesday for talks with Croatia's top officials on bilateral relations, notably on strengthening economic cooperation, and he will also attend ceremonies in Zagreb marking the 100th anniversary of declaration of Islam as an officially recognised religion in the country.

Upon his arrival in the capital of Zagreb on Tuesday afternoon, the Turkish head of state will first hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the Wall of Pain erected in memory of victims who were killed or disappeared during the the 1991-1995 Homeland Defence War.

After that he will be received by his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

On Wednesday the two presidents will attend a Croatian-Turkish forum organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in a bid to boost economic cooperation with Turkey. During his visit, Erdogan will be accompanied by six ministers, including the ministers of economy, energy and tourism, as well as by about 90 Turkish business people.

Erdogan's visit to Croatia will be wrapped up by a ceremony of formal opening of the Turkish Cultural Centre in the downtown Zagreb.

Before that, he will attend a ceremony celebrating the centennial jubilee of the recognition of Islam in Croatia.. Various events will be held in areas of Croatia with sizeable Muslim communities to mark this anniversary and thus remember 27 April 1916 when Croatian lawmakers declared Islam as an officially recognised religion in the country.

The relations between Zagreb and Ankara are perceived as traditionally good and as partnership.

Within NATO, these two member-states strongly support the alliance's open-door policy, primarily towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Although the Croatia-Turkey trade is relatively low, the bilateral economic cooperation has great potential.

Turkey's investments in Croatia stand at 213 million euros, and those are mainly funds invested in projects in tourism and energy. Nearly all Turkish investments in Croatia have been green-field.

During the 7th Annual Energy and Economic Summit of the Atlantic Council in Istanbul last November, Croatia's President met with her Turkish counterpart and on that occasion the two officials agreed that the bilateral relations were friendly and additionally reinforced by the two countries' membership of NATO. On that occasion Grabar-Kitarovic said that her country supported Turkey's European Union's membership bid.

Grabar-Kitarovic's predecessor Ivo Josipovic paid an official visit to Turkey in 2011 at the invitation by the then Turkish president Abdullah Gul.

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