Time to work on new impetus in Türkiye- Sri Lanka relations- Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu –

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  • We have our distinct culture and traditions based on our rich historical heritage. Our diplomatic contacts go back to 1864 when the Ottoman Empire appointed an Honorary Consul to the city of Galle
  • Turkey was also among the first countries that recognised the independence of Sri Lanka in 1948

 

Despite the geographical distance, Turkey and Sri Lanka, resemble each other in several aspects.
 We have our distinct culture and traditions based on our rich historical heritage. Our diplomatic contacts go back to 1864 when the Ottoman Empire appointed an Honorary Consul to the city of Galle. Today, the memory of our shared history is cherished by naming a street after Sultan Abdulhamid the Second in the city of Colombo.  
Today, both Turkey and Sri Lanka play a pivotal role in their respective regions. Turkey is an emerging economic powerhouse located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, whereas Sri Lanka, being the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is projected to become a hub for trade and economy in South Asia.  

 Turkey was also among the first countries that recognised the independence of Sri Lanka in 1948. The visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the then Prime Minister, to Sri Lanka in February 2005 after the tsunami disaster, and the visit of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the then President, to Turkey in 2008 were major milestones in our bilateral relations. Later, both countries set up their Embassies consecutively in 2012 and in 2013, which paved the way for mutual cooperation to develop in numerous areas.  

“Turkish Airlines has also immensely contributed to the Sri Lankan economy during the pandemic: while many airline companies stopped their operations to Sri Lanka, Turkish Airlines continued its cargo flights, enabling the Sri Lankan export products to reach world markets”

Mutual high-level visits have contributed to the strengthening of our ties. I was also pleased and honoured to be the first-ever Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to visit Sri Lanka back in June 2016. The first political consultations held at the level of Deputy Foreign Minister from the Turkish side and Foreign Secretary from the Sri Lankan side in May 2019 in Colombo, have consolidated our relations. The timing of our first political consultations is also meaningful, as it took place right after the Easter bombings and was meant to express the solidarity of Turkey with Sri Lanka in difficult times. As a sign of our friendly partnership, we decided to establish Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Groups. We are looking forward to the development of our Inter-Parliamentary relations in the period ahead.  

Fight against terrorism is an important area where we develop our cooperation. As two nations suffered from the scourge of terrorism, both Turkey and Sri Lanka are at the forefront of promoting international cooperation in the fight against terrorism in its all forms and manifestations.  

 We aim to develop a win-win partnership with Sri Lanka. Our trade volume reached over 175 million USD in 2021. We should capitalize on the true potential of our economic relations as soon as possible. I also believe that there is room for diversification of our trade items. Lately, during the second meeting of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) held in June 2021, both countries pledged to increase bilateral trade volume to 500 million USD. We should focus on reaching this important target.  
 As far as people-to-people relations are concerned, I want to emphasize that the national flag carrier of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, increased its weekly flights operating between Istanbul and Colombo to 11.   

“During the second meeting of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) held in June 2021, both countries pledged to increase bilateral trade volume to 500 million USD. We should focus on reaching this important target “

Turkish Airlines has also immensely contributed to the Sri Lankan economy during the pandemic while many airline companies stopped their operations to Sri Lanka, Turkish Airlines continued its cargo flights, enabling the Sri Lankan export products to reach world markets.   
Since 1992 Sri Lankan students are allowed to study in Turkish universities as part of the Turkey Scholarships program. I firmly believe that the increase in the numbers of Sri Lankan students in Turkey will also contribute to strengthening these ties.  

“Turkey has extended its helping hand to different communities in Sri Lanka and carried out 20 aid projects in different parts of the country. The villages built-in 2006 in Midigama and in 2015 in Mannar for those affected by the tsunami and the civil war are our flagship projects”

Last but not least, Turkey has extended its helping hand to different communities in Sri Lanka and carried out 20 aid projects in different parts of the country. The villages built-in 2006 in Midigama and in 2015 in Mannar for those affected by the tsunami and the civil war are our flagship projects.   
As part of its Covid-19 aid projects around the world, Turkey has also provided medical equipment as well as personal protective equipment to the Sri Lankan health authorities.  
I am glad to visit Sri Lanka again – a country that highly impressed me back in 2016. We aim to strengthen our existing ties and explore new avenues of cooperation. Our ancestors almost two centuries ago took the first steps to bring closer our two nations. Today, built on our past, we can make our common future brighter. I am confident that my contacts in Colombo will help us to achieve this goal.   

Courtesy Daily Mirror

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