6/22/2009

Saudi-Turkish ties grow stronger

Arab News – Naci Koru, the out-going Turkish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has termed the two successive visits of King Abdullah in Turkey as a watershed in bilateral relations. “King Abdullah visited Turkey 40 years after the successful tour of King Faisal in 1969 in connection with the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). King Abdullah visited the country for the second time after a year to congratulate Abdullah Gul on his election as president of Turkey. These visits reflect the success of sound bilateral relations. In fact, King Abdullah’s vision has given the bilateral relations a new impetus”, Koru told Arab News in an interview. The envoy is returning to Ankara this month at the end of his successful term in Riyadh. “President Gul’s visit to the Kingdom in February this year has confirmed our vision of a great and successful future. I am confident that the two countries will move forward to consolidate the relations for the better and we will see how fruitful these endeavors will be in the near future”, said Koru. The ambassador added, “Our government attaches great importance to its relations with the countries of the region. This congenial atmosphere has helped turn the pages of the past and move in the application of the combined plans for a great and successful future.” Economic relations between the two countries have reached a good stage; however the bilateral trade figures have not pleased the business communities on both sides and do not reflect the economic potential of the two countries. “One of the most important reasons for this is the delay in the establishment of basics for trade relations. The free trade agreement negotiations we are now having with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf is one of the most important steps to increase trade cooperation”, he said. Citing other reasons, he said, “There is inadequate recognition of Turkey’s investment potential in the Kingdom. Attempts so far have resulted in increasing bilateral trade and we look forward to expanding it to more than USD 10 billion in the near future through investment and business partnerships.”

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