The eulogy of the former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi said the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminiscing after his death last Monday.

In an article published in the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that Berlusconi was the first to congratulate him after his victory in the first general election on 3 November 2002.

The Turkish president referred to the ban on practicing politics imposed on him by a Turkish court because of a poem he recited. His right to engage in politics was illegally blocked, Erdogan said, adding that Berlusconi was the first world leader to object to it.

“My friend Berlusconi called and congratulated us on our election victory. He said my political ban was unacceptable and invited me to his country. We met with Mr. Berlusconi in Rome and had a comprehensive discussion on Turkey-Italy relations and EU issues. My friend Berlusconi said: “Now you are in the house of your best friend in Europe. I will call my friends Prime Ministers in the EU and act as your lawyer”, Erdogan recalled.

“During his time in office, he has always supported our country in our EU accession process”he added.

Erdogan said he had “fruitful, honest and friendly relationships” with Berlusconi during their tenures as both prime ministers of their respective countries.

He said Berlusconi was also a politician who loved and respected the Turkish nation and placed great value on Turkey.

“I believe that Berlusconi, who dominated Italian politics for many years, left an indelible mark behind him. When I heard the news of the death of my dear friend Silvio Berlusconi, with whom we worked for many years, I felt great sadness.” Erdogan said.

“He will always be remembered as a true friend with the fond memories he left behind. I heartily share the pain of Mr. Berlusconi’s family and loved ones and convey my condolences to the Italian people on behalf of my country and nation.” concluded.