Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis and Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt attended the inauguration of Swedish Consulate General, also known as the Swedish Palace, in Istanbul after the building went through restoration recently.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, State Minister Bagis and guest Minister Bildt toured the historical building in Beyoglu district and received information on the building from Swedish Consul General Torkel Stiernlof.
Speaking to reporters, Bildt said that this palace was Sweden's oldest building as a representation.
The palace represents an excellent past and symbolizes a better future in the European Union (EU), Bildt said.
Turkey and Sweden work closely with each other in many areas, one of which is Turkey's accession into the EU, Bildt said.
Turkey will make her own decisions regarding the future. However, Turkey's EU membership would be very beneficial for EU's strategic long term interests, Bildt said.
An EU with Turkey would be more dynamic and strong, Bildt underlined.
State Minister Egemen Bagis, in his part, said that Sweden's oldest public building was in Istanbul.
Istanbul has provided hospitality to Sweden since the tenth century, Bagis said.
Turkey and Sweden have diplomatic relations since 1537. This implies that Turkish-Sweden relations will continue in the future. The seven political parties in the Swedish Parliament all support Turkey's EU membership. The fact that thousands of individuals with roots in Turkey have made Sweden their home shows that the two sides are happy with each other, Bagis stressed.
It is pleasing to see the support of Swedish Prime Minister and the Swedish government for Turkey's EU membership at a time when many European politicians are insulting individuals from different religion, ethnicity and culture. Mr. Bildt has extended great support to me during and after the Swedish term presidency in the EU, Bagis also said.
The Swedish Palace is located on Istiklal Avenue. Its land was purchased in 1757. The Palace's construction was completed in 1870. The Swedish Embassy was active in this Palace until 1934, the year when it moved to Ankara. The Palace was used as a summer residence by Swedish ambassadors in Ankara until 1953. As of 1953, the Palace was used as the Swedish Consulate General. The restoration of the Palace lasted around 18 months.
Swedish FM opens restored Consulate General in Turkey
Turkey and Sweden have diplomatic relations since 1537.