Official visit of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Belarus
Belarus and Turkey are capable of reaching a new level in the development of their relations, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the one-on-one talks with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Minsk on 11 November.
The schedule of the visit was tightly packed for the Belarusian and Turkish heads of state and included not only protocol events, restricted-attendance talks and expanded-participation negotiations but also the signing of international documents in Minsk’s Palace of Independence.
The presidents took part in the Belarusian-Turkish business forum, which was one of the most representative forums in Belarus on record. The Turkish side alone was represented by about 200 businessmen and civil servants.
Aleksandr Lukashenko and Recep Tayyip Erdogan took part in the ceremony to inaugurate the Cathedral Mosque in Minsk. The temple is supposed to become a token of accord between confessions in Belarus, a place for a prayer for the Minsk residents and visitors, who practice Islam.
The leaders of Belarus and Turkey spent a lot of time in personal talks. In a trustful and open manner they discussed most versatile topics starting with the international cooperation agenda and ending with global and regional problems.
During the talks Aleksandr Lukashenko repeatedly stressed that there are absolutely no differences of opinion in political affairs between the two countries. Personal relations between the heads of state are praiseworthy as well. This is why it is extremely important to focus joint efforts on exploiting the potential of trade and economic interaction as much as possible and on saturating it with new mutually beneficial projects. “Turkey is a priority partner for us. We highly appreciate our friendship and are intent on productive cooperation across the board,” stated Aleksandr Lukashenko. “Let’s advance our relations as far as we can. And we can a lot.”
The Belarusian head of state deems it necessary to move towards a new form of cooperation — manufacturing cooperation — which is an important mechanism of survival in modern conditions. “It is necessary to encourage the establishment of joint ventures in Belarus and Turkey that will produce sophisticated technology products, including with a view to selling them to third countries,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
The Belarusian side also sees potential for developing ties with Turkish technological parks and technology transfer centers. The countries are also interested in the development of mutually beneficial and balanced investment, credit, and financial relations. In particular, the Belarusian President suggested discussing the prospects of the Belarusian-Turkish cooperation in the banking sector.
Belarus can become a springboard for the Turkish business. “I assure you that the Belarusian government will encourage Turkish companies to take part in the implementation of projects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“If you are ready to run business in an honest way in Belarus, let’s do it, on a corruption-free, open and fair basis. Come to Belarus and work as you do it in Turkey, and we will succeed,” the Belarusian head of state said at the business forum.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the agreements reached during the summit will help Belarus and Turkey further strengthen and develop their relations. The documents signed following the talks at the highest level create additional conditions for the expansion of the mutually beneficial ties in political, trade, economic, scientific, humanitarian and other areas of cooperation. Consideration was given to the prospects for the implementation of engineering and construction projects, and to the establishment of joint industrial zones. The heads of state reviewed the ways of increasing the mutual trade and optimizing logistics routes, setting up joint ventures in the two countries.
Aleksandr Lukashenko and Recep Tayyip Erdogan also passed a joint communiqué. The document calls for expanding and deepening the bilateral ties in a number of priority areas.
The Turkish President, in turn, described his visit to Minsk as a turning point in the Belarusian-Turkish relations. He drew attention to the goal of raising Belarus-Turkey trade to $1 billion. “We will definitely be able to do it,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan was convinced. “We have an advantage in the fact that our economies do not compete with each other but complement each other. Turkey is ready to continue encouraging more Turkish businessmen to start working in Belarus and expand investment contacts.”
The Turkish leader described the next session of the Belarusian-Turkish intergovernmental commission on trade and economic affairs as important. The session is scheduled to take place in early 2017 and is supposed to flesh out the arrangements secured at the top level.
The Turkey President underscored Belarus’ contribution to maintaining stability in the region. In his words, while the situation in some countries of the region is negative, Belarus demonstrates stability and pursues a balanced policy in relations with other nations.