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Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Alexander Lukashenko: $1 billion dollars turnover is possible

On November 11, the President of Turkey made his first official visit to Belarus. The visit is a very significant step in the relations between two countries.

The program of the visit included the negotiations, opening ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque and business forum that gathered about 500 representatives of large Belarusian and Turkish companies.

It is worth mentioning that Turkey became the first country to acknowledge the independence of Belarus after the collapse of the USSR.

Belarus and Turkey maintain good relations, they support each other on the international arena and have a mutual economic interest.

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 there 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.

The turnover is about $630 million. Turkish investments in Belarus over the past year have amounted to $50 million.

An interesting fact is that after the official visit of the Belarusian President to Turkey, the turnover increased by two times.

This business forum is almost the largest forum held in Belarus, mentioned Alexander Lukashenko.

After the negotiations, the Presidents attended the opening ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque in Minsk.

There was a mosque situated at the same site since the 19th century. However, it was destroyed during the Soviet time. In 2016, it is opening again. It can accommodate 1,500-2,000 Muslims and will become one of the largest mosques in Eastern Europe. The Department for Religious Affairs of Turkey allocated 4 million dollars for the construction work.

The mosque will become a center of the Muslim culture. There are 30,000 Muslims in Belarus, and a third part of them live in Minsk.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Any citizen of our country has the right to find their way to his temple, and no one has the right to, and shall not, compel him to do otherwise. Therefore, today we open this great temple, which is not just a home for Muslims, but a huge contribution to the development of the culture of Belarus. I am convinced that the mosque, erected with the personal support of the President of Turkey, my good friend and fellow Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be an important spiritual center for the Muslims of Belarus and the Belarusian people, a source of education and the dissemination of humanistic ideas and the true purposes of Islam.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey:
Belarus is a country where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds live together under one roof, in peace and harmony. And we are witnesses of the fact that in Belarus, this palette, this diversity is not perceived as a potential threat; on the contrary, as a beauty, a symbol of wealth and property. Personally on my behalf and on behalf of my people, I thank all those involved in the construction of the mosque and its opening. It, in particular, will become the symbol of friendship between the Belarusian and Turkish peoples.

After the Friday prayer in the mosque, the Turkish President paid tribute to soldiers who died during the Great Patriotic War, which is part of WWII, from 1941-1945 in Belarusian history. Mr Erdogan laid a wreath at the monument in Victory Square in the Minsk centre.

The talks about possible joint projects and future economic relations continued in the Palace of Independence.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We need to organize the steps in the trade and economic sphere for the near future. I think the time has come to move away from a simple trade of goods, to acquire a new, cooperative form of interaction, which is an essential mechanism for survival in modern conditions. Belarus and Turkey have the necessary economic potential and tools. An industrial cooperation between enterprises of the two countries in the field of automobile and tractor industry, the production of automotive components seems promising. It is necessary to facilitate the creation of joint enterprises on the territory of our states.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey:
Turkey is one of those countries that invest a lot in the Belarusian economy. I think that the signing of new documents will stimulate not only our business cooperation, but also investment cooperation in general between the two countries. To make the process faster and easier, it is necessary to create favorable conditions for the interaction of capital and business.

Alexander Lukashenko and Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the plan on the development of cooperation for 2016-2017.

After the negotiations, the Presidents drew the conclusion.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I am extremely grateful to my friend and colleague for the exhaustive information, which he presented to me on development in the region where you live, where you are from, where your interests are. First of all, in Syria and Iraq. We learned a lot from it, and this information will encourage us to develop a proper understanding and the right course with regards to the region. And the role now played by the Republic of Turkey in terms of stabilization and the fight against terrorism, and in terms of the struggle for peace in Iraq and Syria.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey:
I personally thank Belarus and I thank Belarus on behalf of the entire delegation for  warm welcoming. The talks were very productive. We discussed the international agenda and our bilateral relations and economic and trade. We discussed not only the opportunity to significantly increase turnover, but also transfer it into the national currency. In 2017, a lot of work will be done to implement the agreements made during the meeting.

The turnover of 1 billon dollars is only another step in the relations between Belarus and Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Alexander Lukashenko: $1 billion dollars turnover is possible