Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the cruelty of terrorist activities, in reference to the July 22 terrorist attack which claimed 77 lives in Norway and was committed as a plot against a multicultural Europe, during a lunch organized in his honor at İstanbul's Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel on Tuesday.
The prime minister also reiterated his condolences to Turkey for the attack, which took the life of 17-year-old Turk Gizem Doğan, and said he commiserates with Turkey regarding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks, which have claimed many lives.
Stoltenberg helped with the cooking of the lunch, in which Norwegian seafoods were presented. He cooked Norwegian salmon in the hotel’s kitchen, accompanied by Jostein Medhus, a famous Norwegian chef. Medhus said Stoltenberg is a very talented cook. The prime minister said he learned to cook during his childhood, explaining this is where his cooking talent comes from.
Saying that Turkish foods are very delicious, the prime minister said he liked the “hamsi,” the anchovies renowned in Turkey’s Black Sea region, that he ate yesterday during a visit to Ankara.
Stoltenberg held meetings on Monday with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, as well as main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, during his Ankara visit.
During his talk with Çiçek in the Parliament building, Stoltenberg hailed Turkish initiatives to replace the 1982 military constitution, which was prepared by an interim military government following the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. “We are gladly following Turkey’s democratic progress. Turkey has made significant developments in human rights in recent years,” the prime minister said, in particular citing current draft regulations in Turkey concerning women’s rights.
However, Stoltenberg also said that Turkey still needs improvement on freedom of expression, and he criticized the arrests of journalists, which he depicted as an obstacle to freedom of the press. In response to Stoltenberg, Çiçek said: “These people have not been arrested due to their journalist activities. Most of them are suspected of serious crimes, including serving the goals of terrorist groups,” citing the journalists’ suspected links to Ergenekon, a clandestine terrorist organization charged with attempting to overthrow the government.