Turkey - close and reliable political and economic partner of Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev has had a meeting with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who arrived in Astana on April 16, Tengrinews reports.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed further strengthening of the Kazakh-Turkish strategic partnership and development of cooperation in a wide range of areas.
Nazarbayev and Erdogan also dwelt on the current topics on the international and regional agenda.
Kazakhstan’s President called the relations between the two nations are friendly and brotherly. “Turkey has achieved great success over the past 12 years under your leadership. It holds the 16th place in the world in terms of economy, which is a result of the work of all the people and your efforts. (…) I am confident that your visit will bring our cooperation to a new level,” Nazarbayev is quoted as saying by the press service of Akorda.
Erdogan, in turn, thanked Nazarbayev for his visit to Turkey last year, when the Kazakh President attended the inauguration ceremony: ”Last year, you personally attended the ceremony of inauguration of Turkey’s President, therefore I would like to thank you for being with us. I believe this means that a respectable man of the Turkic world attaches great importance to our friendship and our bilateral ties."
The Turkish leader admitted he was happy to visit the homeland of his ancestors again after three years, but this time as a president. “Dangers are around us. Turkey and Kazakhstan that are considered symbols of safety, stability and wellbeing should work together. Friendship is manifested especially in difficult times, this is why, we will be close to our brothers from Kazakhstan who are in need of the strategic partnership,” Erdogan said.
Upon the end of the meeting, the two leaders took part in a press-briefing.
Nursultan Nazarbayev once again emphasized the common roots that Kazakhstan and Turkey shared. “Kazakhstan’s people feel special respect to Turkey, which was first to recognize our independence. This year we celebrate the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate. Therefore, the visit of President of Turkey, a country with Turkic roots, has a symbolic meaning to us. Turkey is one of the closest and most reliable political and economic partners of Kazakhstan,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
He also added that the outcomes of the meeting would contribute to the strengthening of the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. “Kazakhstan fully supports the initiatives of the brotherly nation. Today we held the second meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which was attended by members of the governments of the two countries. We summed up the work and discussed ways for further development of cooperation in many areas. The framework of the Kazakh-Turkish dialogue is constantly being expanded,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
Erdogan thanked Nazarbayev for his support to Turkish construction companies. “Turkish contractors played an important role in building Astana and other projects as well. I would like to express gratitude to the President for the support he provided to our companies. Praise be to Allah, our companies continue working here, in Astana,” Erdogan said, "Our contractors have not disappointed us, they work well."
According to Nursultan Nazarbayev, over 1,600 Kazakh-Turkish companies are registered in Kazakhstan. “It has to be emphasized that Turkish companies have been taking an active part in the construction of the new capital. The total cost of their projects is estimated at $20 billion. Currently, 14 investment projects are being implemented totalling $1.5 billion,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
Nazarbayev reminded that the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Turkey reached $3.5 billion last year, which is lower than in the previous years. Erdogan explained this with regional and global problems influencing the trade between the countries. “Certain regional and global problems have recently negatively affected our trade relations. We need to fix these problems. During out meeting, we discussed these issues,” Erdogan said.
Furthermore, in accordance with the New Sinergy Program that Kazakhstan and Turkey have adopted, the two countries plan to bring the trade turnover to $10 billion in time and plan to boost investments by $500 million each year.
“We need to do out best to achieve a 10 billion trade turnover. I hope that the decline in foreign trade will be overcome, and we will soon compensate this slide," the President of Turkey said.
In this context, Nazarbayev invited Turkish companies to take part in the implementation of the Nurly Zhol program, a new initiatives of President Nazarbayev called to address the fallout of the global crisis in Kazakhstan. “Kazakhstan and Turkey are the countries the wellbeing of which was closely linked with the Great Silk Road. And now they continue to connect the East and the West. I have invited our Turkish partners to participate in the Nurly Zhol program and other investment projects. We have agreed to consider creation of joint infrastructure and investment funds. The implementation of the joint transport projects may open the markets of China, East and South-Eastern Asia for Turkey, and the markets of European countries and those in the Middle East may be opened for us through Turkey,” President of Kazakhstan said.
Kazakhstan’s President also pointed out that the Eurasian Economic Union, which has began its work this year, also opened new markets for Turkish businesses. In particular, he emphasized Kazakhstan’s support to Turkey’s idea to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.
Nursultan Nazarbayev went on saying that the two countries played an important role in their regions. “Kazakhstan and Turkey actively participate in the discussions related to the regional stability and international security. Our cooperation is developing within the frameworks of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. A high level of collaboration has been established within the frameworks of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, TURKSOY. Turkey also intends to take part in the V Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
Erdogan, in his turn, noted that a substantial progress had been made in the development of the bilateral ties. “Turkey supports Kazakhstan’s bid for the UN Security Council membership for 2017-2018. Turkey plans to take part in the EXPO-2017 in Astana. We hope that the negotiations regarding Kazakhstan’s accession into the WTO will be completed soon. We plan to continue support the plans of our brothers,” Erdogan said.
As a part of his visit, Erdogan also visited Turkestan in southern Kazakhstan. “Tomorrow (on April 17) we will visit the tomb of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, who is the father of our common culture and common values. We will convey the greetings from the Turkish people in front of his grave," he said.
In addition, the head of Turkey wished the presidential elections scheduled for April 26 in Kazakhstan to be peaceful and bring good changes to the people of Kazakhstan. “I would like to put a special emphasis on the role of the country’s leader, my dear brother Nazarbayev, who is considered to be the architect of new Kazakhstan," Erdogan concluded.
By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina (Renat Tashkinbayev contributed to the story)