Belarus-Turkey relations advancing fast
Belarus-Turkey trade and economic relations are expanding remarkably fast, Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Martynov said following a session of the Belarus-Turkey intergovernmental economic commission on 3 November, BelTA has learnt.
The minister noted that over the last five years, the bilateral trade has soared almost five times. Last year the trade grew by 36%, this year the growth has made 20%. Nevertheless, the parties are not happy with the current amount of trade taking into consideration their cooperation potential.
Sergei Martynov noted that the countries agreed that the establishment of joint ventures and projects in the manufacturing industry should be the driving force of the bilateral trade and economic relations. A document on setting up a joint company to produce Belarusian tractors in Turkey was signed on 2 November. The company is expected to reach its designed capacity of about 5,000 tractors per year by 2015.
Another important cooperation avenue is logistic projects between the east and west, south and north. According to the minister, logistic projects are becoming more relevant in the context of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space.
Sergei Martynov underlined that Belarus welcomes the active involvement of Turkish companies in Belarusian projects. He informed about a recent arrangement to implement a major project in worsted cloth production by a Turkish company. The project is estimated at about $200 million. “We hope this will be a landmark project in our relations and it will be followed by projects in other areas, including power engineering,” Sergei Martynov said.
As for power engineering, the Belarusian Foreign Minister said that both Turkey and Belarus are investing a lot of effort in diversifying energy supplies and are pinning great hopes on nuclear energy. Sergei Martynov pointed to cooperation opportunities offered by power engineering. “Belarus has an ambitious government program in energy security envisaging the construction of a great number of energy installations. The Turkish manufacturing industry and construction have been acknowledged around the world. Many foreign companies are working in this industry here, from Russian to Indian ones, and we invite Turkish companies to join them”. According to the Foreign Minister, this topic aroused deep interest in Turkey.
Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey Ertugrul Gunay said, in turn, that the two countries have much more opportunities to implement joint projects. He pointed to the fact that both Belarus and Turkey are situated on the crossroads of important corridors, which opens great cooperation prospects in transport logistics. Turkey believes the Viking project is also important for the regional development.
Ertugrul Gunay touched upon cooperation in culture. He informed that in March 2012 a series of Turkish cities and towns will host cultural events featuring Belarusian participants. Belarus will hold the Days of Turkish Culture. Closer contacts between the two peoples will cement business ties, the minister said.
Following the seventh session of the Belarus-Turkey intergovernmental economic commission, the parties signed a final protocol articulating the major cooperation avenues. The parties agreed that the next session of the commission will be held in Ankara in 2012.