Aleksandr Lukashenko meets Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

    Belarus and Turkey need to balance trade and build up cooperation, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu on 29 March.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko believes it is not normal that Belarus-Turkey bilateral trade is meager in spite of huge capabilities.

    “We vigorously cooperate with the countries of the so-called far arc. With the neighboring countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe we have virtually no problems in trade, politics. But we are eager to diversify markets and find interesting areas in distant countries,” the Belarusian head of state said. As an example he mentioned his recent visit to Southeast Asia. “As a result of the visit we have signed contracts to the tune of $0.5 billion. The President stressed that Belarus and Turkey can reach even a bigger volume of mutual trade because the two countries are much closer from each other.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that Belarus and Turkey “have very good relations in politics. There are no acute problems between Turkish and Belarusian authorities”.

    The President emphasized that Belarus draws much attention to the visit of the Foreign Minister of Turkey: “These are not traditional words. Your visit to Minsk is very important for us. And I strongly hope that we will outline a number of (five to six) cooperation avenues which will help forge trade and economic ties, boost trade turnover and, hence, promote cooperation in all areas”.

    “Let us put it into practice,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

    Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu agreed with the Belarusian head of state that the two countries do not take advantage of cooperation opportunities. “We could increase our trade up to $1 billion this year and make it several billion dollars two or three years from now,” he said.

    Ahmet Davutoğlu remarked that Belarus is viewed by Turkish businessmen as a promising investment destination. He emphasized that some joint projects have already been implemented successfully. The minister thanked the Belarusian President for his support.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister noted that about 140,000 Belarusian tourists visit Turkey every year. He believes that the agreement on visa-free travels signed in Minsk on 29 March will increase the two-way tourist flow and the number of business trips.

    Ahmet Davutoğlu gave Aleksandr Lukashenko the best regards from President of Turkey Abdullah Gül . “Everyone knows that Turkey was the first country that recognized the sovereignty of Belarus. We have no problems in our political relations,” the Turkish Foreign Minister said.