Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for a higher level of trade with Bangladesh on Sunday, vowing to support the South Asian Muslim country in international platforms.
“We will never leave Bangladesh alone,” Erdoğan told reporters in a joint press conference with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in capital Dhaka during his two-day visit. This visit, which was the first Turkish prime ministerial visit in 21 years to the country, was to bolster growing trade relations and bilateral ties between the two countries. The two prime ministers held bilateral talks and meetings with delegations before the news conference, which Erdoğan defined as “very useful.”
State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, State Minister Mehmet Aydın, who is also the co-Chairman of the Turkey-Bangladesh Joint Economic Commission, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız, Deputy Chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Nükhet Hotar and Samsun Deputy Suat Kılıç accompanied Erdoğan during his visit.
Noting that he is pleased to be in a “friendly and brotherly” country, Erdoğan said he assessed the current level of bilateral ties between the two countries today with his counterpart.
Erdoğan said, “Turkey is one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh’s independence. Our relations have increasingly strengthened. We appreciate and follow Bangladesh’s steps in its path to development. We are monitoring its successful record in human rights, rule of law and gender equality. There have never been problems between Turkey and Bangladesh. In addition, the two countries also display solidarity in international organization. We want to continue to enhance our economic, cultural and political cooperation,” Erdoğan told the news conference.
Pointing to the fact that trade volume between the two countries was only $47 million in 2002 but reached $658 million by 2009, Erdoğan said these numbers don’t reflect the potential between Turkey and Bangladesh. The prime minister said they have increased the previously set $1 billion goal for 2015 to $3 billion. “There should be more, not less,” Erdoğan underlined.
Erdoğan also noted that Turkish Airlines will launch direct flights to Dahka on Dec. 23 this year, which he believes will increase trade and tourism and solidarity between the two nations.
Turkey and Bangladesh are also in the Developing-8 (D-8) — an arrangement for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey — that enhances dialogue between the two countries.
The establishment of the D-8, an organization aimed at fostering economic cooperation among its Muslim developing country members, was announced officially by a summit of heads of state and government in İstanbul in June 1997.
Saying that there is also cooperation between Bangladesh and Turkey in the sphere of education, Erdoğan said Turkey is helping the country in bachelor, masters and military education.
Turkey and Bangladesh signed two agreements in health and diplomatic sectors during Erdoğan’s visit. The first agreement envisages cooperation in the health sector between the two countries. The second agreement is about granting plots of land for diplomatic missions both in Ankara and Dhaka.
Hasina also said talks held with Erdoğan and with the Turkish delegation took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Noting that they hold similar views on many topics in international affairs, Hasina said they have an agreement in the struggle against any type of terrorism.
Hasina stated they agreed to continue cooperation in health, education and the defense industry.
“I want to express my admiration to Prime Minister Erdoğan for his success in international relations and his leadership,” Hasina concluded.
Before his meetings with Bangladeshi officials, Erdoğan visited Savar National Cemetery on his second day in Dhaka. Erdoğan later was expected to hold talks with Bangladesh’s President Muhammad Zillur Rahman and was set to proceed to a lunch hosted by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
During his visit, Erdoğan also visited International Turkish Hope High School, which was established in 1996 by Turkish businessmen, where he was welcomed by traditional Turkish and Bangladeshi dances and songs, congratulating those who have contributed to the foundation and maintenance of the school.
While the host school ran video footage featuring Erdoğan reciting the poem “Canım İstanbul,” Erdoğan and other ministers nearly wept. Stressing that his presence here has a special meaning, Erdoğan said it is pleasing to see Turks and Bangladeshis moving together towards the same goal.
Speaking at a ceremony at the high school, Erdoğan said Bangladesh and Turkey are two countries that have no problems between one another. Noting that Bangladesh could be one of the most modern countries in the world, Erdoğan said the country has a young population of 160 million and could successfully utilize this human capital. Erdoğan also stressed the need for democracy and noted there needs not be compromise to achieve freedom. “Better democracy, better life standards, better economy,” Erdoğan pointed out.
via Today’s Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news.