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Turkish president shortens visit to Romania for condolences

April 1, 2015

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Turkey’s president is cutting short an official visit to Romania to pay his condolences to the family of a prosecutor who was taken hostage and slain.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on a one-day visit to Romania Wednesday where he discussed boosting trade and joint NATO exercises.

Mehmet Selim Kiraz, a prosecutor investigating the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, was slain Tuesday in a police shootout after two members of a banned left-wing group held him hostage. Erdogan said he would return home early to offer condolences to Kiraz’s wife and family.

A state dinner Wednesday evening at the presidential palace was canceled due to Erdogan’s early departure. President Klaus Iohannis publicly offered condolences to Erdogan for the slain prosecutor.

Erdogan said both countries, which traditionally have good trade, political and military relations, plan to increase joint trade, currently at $6.3 billion a year, to $10 billion and tap into tourism. More than 400,000 Romanian tourists visited Turkey last year.

Turkey and Romania are both members of NATO.

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