Belarus sees Turkey as base for building up economic presence in Middle East

Belarus sees Turkey as base for building up economic presence in Middle East

The Prime Minister of Turkey was in Minsk on an official visit for the first time.

In the Belarusian capital, the prime minister will spend two busy days. The Belarus government announced on February 14 that Belarus and Turkey intend to reach a total trade volume of $1.5 billion.

Binali Yildirim came to the post of prime minister with many years of experience as a minister. He was the head of transport, shipping and communications.

He implemented infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the third airport in Istanbul, the third bridge across the Bosphorus. Under him, motorways and high-speed railways were actively built.

The politician promised to rid his country of the terrorist threat. The head of the Turkish government can boast of an honorary doctorate in several universities around the world. He speaks English and French.

Ekaterina Zhilyanina, CTV reporter:
The Prime Minister of Turkey came to Minsk to talk about the priorities of our future cooperation. A number of documents were prepared for signing during the visit, including an agreement between governments on investments.

In 2017, Turkish investments in the Belarusian economy exceeded $40 million. The Belarus-Turkey business forum will be held on February 15 and is expected to gather more than 200 participants. Different directions are on agenda, such as mechanical engineering, chemical industry, woodworking, logistics, IT, and textile industry.

All points of contact for private and public business were discussed in the Government House, where the head of the Belarusian government Andrei Kobyakov met his Turkish counterpart.

Negotiations began traditionally in a narrow format. They lasted about an hour, and then the two premieres joined the delegations, and the Minsk-Ankara dialogue continued in an expanded format. Economic ties, of course, was one of the main topics.

The trade turnover in 2017 exceeded $940 million. Over the decade it has increased by 5 times. But both sides prefer to call these numbers intermediate. They are already thinking about ways to increase the amount to $1.5 billion.

Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We view Turkey as a base for building up Belarusian economic presence in the Middle East and North Africa region. In addition to economic topics, during the talks we also touched upon humanitarian cooperation, scientific and educational contacts, and cultural ties.

Andrei Kobyakov suggested discussing the establishment of a bank with Turkish capital, to work on the efficiency of cargo transportation and to speed up the process of creating assembly plants of Belarusian combine harvesters and special machinery in Turkey.

At present, Belarus is looking for partners to assemble its famous tractors in Turkey. Joint products are to be sold to other countries of the region.

At the same time, for Turkey Belarus can become a springboard for entering the market of the Eurasian Economic Union. Belarus boasts suitable labor force and logistics for this. In addition, Turkey supported the idea of ​​working together in African markets.

Binali Yıldırım, Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic:
We fully support the initiative of Belarus to enter the markets of Africa and the Middle East through joint investments. We are also interested in our enterprises operating in the economic zones of Belarus.

The Prime Minister of Turkey met today with the heads of both chambers of the Belarusian parliament. On February 15 the negotiation process will continue.

A high-level meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko is expected. The Turkish delegation will then visit Belarusian enterprises and the premiers will take part in the business forum.