Danish envoy praises economic ties ahead of Erdogan's visit
While Denmark is certainly supportive of Turkey's EU accession bid, economic cooperation between the two countries is already positive and does not need Turkey to become a member of the EU before it can further blossom, Danish Ambassador to Turkey Ruben Madsen has stated. "[The EU process notwithstanding] we can still develop our commercial relations. Our commercial relations are already very well developed and have [further] development potential," the ambassador noted, speaking to Today's Zaman on the occasion of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the Danish capital of Copenhagen on Tuesday. Madsen emphasized that "things are moving very well [between Turkey and Denmark] in terms of investment and trade." He also mentioned that the primary agenda of the bilateral meeting between Turkish and Danish officials was to be trade and other economic relations. A business forum would also be held in Copenhagen that would bring the businesspeople of the two countries together during Erdogan's visit. Erdogan is set to bring along a 20-member business delegation to Denmark. The volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Denmark is on an upward trend, amounting to $ 1.7 billion in 2012, according to figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat). The total trade volume was around $1.6 billion in 2011 and $1.4 billion in 2010. The leading economic sectors in terms of Turkish-Danish cooperation are pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, machinery and maritime. In terms of maritime cooperation, Denmark-based oil and shipping group Maersk Line carries out important activities in the Turkish market. The company signed a deal with Turkish company Petkim PetroKimya Holding for the operation of Turkey's Petkim Port in February. Denmark also has well-developed green energy technology, and the ambassador mentioned that this sector is another important area of close cooperation between the two countries. The northern European country can be considered a superpower in terms of wind energy. Madsen said that for Turkey, with its notable levels of economic growth, energy saving and green energy are of utmost importance because it is the most efficient way of producing energy. The top Danish diplomat in Turkey said he thinks Turkey is ready to start negotiations with the EU on at least two more chapters in its accession bid. During its EU presidency in the first half of 2012, an attempt was made to start negotiations with Turkey on Chapter 5, "Public procurement." This is one of the chapters Denmark has on its agenda. The diplomat also believes that Chapter 19, "Social policy and employment," is one on which Turkey is able to start negotiations. The bilateral visit will also be a chance for the discussion of Turkey's EU negotiations. The ambassador expressed his pleasure with a recent warming in Turkish-EU relations that began when after France lifted its long-term block of on one of five chapters. Chapter 22, "Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments," will be the first chapter opened in the last two-and-a-half years. Turkey and Denmark share the same view on the two-year Syrian crisis in terms of their stance against President Bashar al-Assad's regime there as well as their support for the Syrian opposition. Turkey and Denmark are NATO allies. Turkey currently hosts 10 Danish military experts responsible from communications systems between the German Patriot missile systems deployed by NATO in Kahramanmaras province. To boost Turkey's air defenses in the case of a missile threat from civil-war-torn Syria, Patriot anti-missile systems were deployed in Turkish territory, sent from NATO allies the US, Germany and the Netherlands.