Belarus and Turkey are able to make a new step in their relations. A few hours ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his official visit to Belarus. The Turkish leader's plane landed at the Minsk National Airport.
Next, the Turkish leader went to the Palace of Independence, where he was met by the Belarusian head of state.
In 2016, the heads of state have already met at the summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which was held in Istanbul in April.
But this is the first time Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited Belarus' capital Minsk.
The two leaders discussed the development of bilateral relations, intensification of trade and economic cooperation, problems of regional and international agenda.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, the two countries have virtually no political differences. In addition, they have a good relationship, including through diplomatic channels. It is necessary to increase trade, however. But there is already positive dynamism in trade and economic relations. In the short term, the sides can achieve a trade of $1 billion.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We have a very long-standing relationship, and their age is probably more than ten years. We have virtually no political differences, we have a common view of the international agenda, we have a very good relationship, through diplomatic channels, we have embassies. Indeed, trade and economic relations are a little behind our personal relationships, our public relations. But even in this part, we do have positive dynamism and there is good progress.
I am grateful to you. With you today are 200 representatives and leaders of the biggest Turkish companies. This is probably the largest forum in terms of the number of companies in the history of independent Belarus. And I'm sure, Mr. President, that as a result of your visit, we will be able to rise to a new level in our relations. Allow me, Mr. President, once again, face to face and in public to assure you of our sincere respect for our friendly country - Turkey, with which we have been building our relations since our independence.
Our friendship and relations have withstood the test of time and you can be sure of the reliability of our relations. Belarus will always be predictable for Turkey and our policies will always correspond to the course that you have pursued for many years.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey:
I am very happy that, despite being a bit late, I am the first president of Turkey who visited Belarus. The total population of our countries is about 90 million people, and it shows that we can do a great deal in economic terms. The turnover has seen a slight decline, but I think that in a very short period of time, we can raise the level of our turnover to $1 billion. For the two states, it is not so difficult. At the moment, Turkish investment is about $1.5 billion. Our relations are developing in a positive way. We are two states that are close to each other. And our visit will be a very good start for the future.
Today, business ties between the countries are strong enough.
The turnover is about $630 million. Turkish investments in Belarus over the past year have amounted to $50 million.
A significant contribution to the economic relations may be a joint business forum. It will be held on November 11 in Minsk, with the Presidents of the two countries to attend it. Overall, following the visit, the sides plan to sign about 10 cooperation documents.