Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 1 met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to further improve bilateral relations with the country.
Speaking at the India-Turkey Business Summit in New Delhi, the president voiced Ankara’s determination to boost bilateral relations.
“We are determined to take all necessary steps to improve our relations with India,” Erdo?an said.
“Together with Turkey in G-20, India is the world’s biggest democracy. It is one of the biggest and fastest-growing free market economies in the world. We are watching the momentum gained in high-tech, software and space industry with appreciation,” he added.
Erdo?an said the country expected more Indian tourists.
“Some 75 million tourists came [to Turkey] last year. Indian tourists were around 79,000 of them. We expect more tourists from India,” he said.
Erdo?an began his visit by meeting the country’s leaders and laying a wreath to renowned Indian independence campaigner, Mahatma Gandhi.
He was welcomed by his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Modi at the presidential palace in New Delhi with an official ceremony which included a traditional 21-gun salute.
Erdo?an later laid a wreath at a monument to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, the internationally renowned pacifist campaigner for Indian independence from the then British Empire.
He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avc? as well as Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.
During a media briefing in Istanbul ahead of his two-day visit on April 30, Erdo?an vowed to boost relations with India.
“In my forthcoming visit, I believe our mutual deliberations will be enriched and they will be much more deepened. The trade volume between India and Turkey appears to be around $6 billion. But it is not in favor of Turkey. But I believe in the forthcoming months, on the basis of our win-win scenario, we can strike a much more favorable balance in our trade volume between our nations,” he said.
“We can take a greater step forward in terms of bilateral relations,” he added.
Erdo?an also raised concerns on the Kashmir question between India and Pakistan. “The relations between two nations are improving on a daily basis which makes me very happy. But this Kashmir question saddened us deeply. Because, I think, this is a question that upsets both countries. I believe sorting out the question, which has not been settled for up to 70 years, will provide a relief for both countries,” he said.
Erdo?an’s two-day visit will be the first-ever official trip at the presidential level from Turkey to India in seven years.
Erdo?an will participate in “Turkey-India Business Forum” on the first day of his stay on April 30. He is also expected to meet his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, Deputy President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Talks are expected to cover the fight against terrorism, efforts to boost bilateral ties in economy and trade, the prevention of the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) activity in India and the country’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Erdo?an’s visit is expected to witness the signing of a cultural exchange program between the two countries as well.
The country, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world, is a member of Group of 20 and it is one of the BRICS countries - the five major emerging national economies along with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.
The Turkish business world is expecting stronger economic ties, more direct investments, and solutions to existing problems, according to analysts and Turkish officials.
Canan Çelebio?lu, head of the Turkey-India Business Council of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DE?K), told state-run Anadolu Agency on April 29 that the trade balance between the two countries, which favors India, must become sustainable for Turkey’s benefit as well.
“The share of bilateral trade is around 2 percent of Turkey’s $350 billion foreign trade volume. This figure is below one percent of India’s total trade volume, which is almost $700 billion. It shows that we are quite below the current potential,” she said.
“The needs of India have to be analyzed correctly. If we examine its top 25 trading partners, I believe that Turkey could take over the position of Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa or Australia,” she said.
“Turkish companies can become a significant supplier to India by establishing local partnerships, especially in the fields of agriculture, livestock, food products, the defense industry, petrochemicals, construction materials, furniture and glass products,” she added.
Stressing the nascent state of the Indian tourism sector, Celebio?lu said Turkish entrepreneurs could help write the same success story seen in the Mediterranean.
Vural Çekinmez, Turkey’s commercial counsellor to India, said Turkish officials in New Delhi provide a wide range of support to Turkish companies wanting to enter the Indian market.
On Erdo?an’s upcoming visit, Çekinmez said it would be one of the most comprehensive meetings in India in recent years.
“This visit will provide significant benefits for both the Turkish businesspeople who already have investments in India and those looking at the potential here,” Çekinmez said.
He stated that the “Make in India” initiative, introduced by Modi, showed a solid resolve for boosting the country’s investment climate, cutting red tape and attracting foreign investors with an extensive approach.
“Efforts to set up industrial corridors between major cities and the project to build 100 ‘smart cities’ have also made the country more attractive for doing business,” he said.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News