In Albania, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicked off a visit to Albania today, with a busy agenda, ranging from the inauguration of Turkish government-funded works to the signing of joint agreements, concluding with a speech. that the Turkish president will hold in the afternoon in the Albanian parliament.
Mr. Erdogan was received at the “Mother Teresa” airport with the highest honors by Prime Minister Edi Rama, with whom they headed to Lac, where a complex of buildings with 522 apartments was inaugurated, which will house the families affected by the earthquake. November 2019. The new palaces, which include service units as well as recreational and sports facilities, were built thanks to the immediate assistance provided by the Turkish government to cope with the damage, through a fund of 42 million euros.
The Turkish President described the realization of this apartment complex as another sign of the strong connection between the two countries. “The sign of brotherhood is not when it comes to you after you have been called, but to stand by your brother when he needs it. And from now on we will always be close. “I hope that this friendship with such a strong foundation will continue indefinitely”, he declared during the ceremony in Laç, where the square near the newly built palaces has been given its name.
The Albanian Prime Minister and the Turkish President later had a bilateral meeting at the government headquarters in Tirana, at the end of which several agreements are expected to be signed. Another ceremony is planned afterwards, for the inauguration of the restoration of the Et’hem Bey mosque in the center of Tirana. While the speech in the Albanian parliament will mark the end of the visit of the Turkish president in Tirana.
What stands out during this visit is the bypassing of the protocol, with the absence of the meeting of the Turkish president with his counterpart Ilir Meta. The latter started the day by remembering the 554th anniversary of the death of the National Hero of Albania, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, accompanied by parts from a film dedicated to him, where he appeared in the battles against the Turks. Later, when the ceremony was held in Lac with the presence of President Erdogan, a few kilometers further in the city of Lezha, he paid homage to the Skanderbeg memorial.
Asked by VOA about the coincidence of the Turkish president’s visit on the date of Skanderbeg’s death and whether or not such a coincidence was a problem, Government spokesman Endri Fuga described the question as “at best careless and at best provocative bad, because there is no connection between the Republic of Turkey and the siege of Kruja or between the resistance of our National Hero Skanderbeg and today Turkey, which is a member of NATO, a strategic partner of Albania and a good friend of the day difficult, as the invaluable support for recovery after the earthquake tragedy showed. Therefore, the problem in this case is not the visit of the President of the Republic of Turkey, but such connections that are completely unrelated, which inadvertently incite hatred between peoples “, said Mr. Fuga.
Turkey has increased its political and economic influence in the Balkan region. The Albanian prime minister is known for his close relationship with President Erdogan, who is considered an authoritarian leader. But during today’s ceremony in Lac, Mr. Rama focused his speech on the appreciation for Mr. Erdogan and the importance he personally attaches to the friendship associated with him, for which, as he said, “I feel proud.” He had a response to those who view this relationship with suspicion, saying that “President Erdogan says what he does and does what he says. It is not easy in today’s world, even in today’s diplomacy, to find people who have Yes and Yes have No, because that’s where we are today. Here is the materialization of all beautiful words. Here you can see what President Erdoğan means when he says “I have Albania in my heart and what hurts Albania, hurts me too”, said Mr. Rama, referring to new buildings in Laç.