The state visit paid by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, to the Republic of Turkey has been completed.
As part of the visit, he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey, which was followed by joint statements for the press.
In his speech, the Turkish President highlighted that Turkey has been a number one trade partner for Georgia in the past 14 years, and the economic cooperation between the countries is expected to further increase.
He noted that Turkey regards Georgia as a key to regional cooperation.
“This year is significant as we are marking the 100TH Anniversary of diplomatic presence of Georgia in Ankara and 30TH Anniversary of Regained Independence of Georgia. We discussed significant topics of our bilateral relations with Mr. Prime Minister at a face-to-face meeting, which was followed by discussions between our delegations. Turkey has been a Number One trade partner for Georgia in the past 14 years. Irrespective of the fact that 2020 has seen a slight decline in trade volumes, we still aim to increase the trade turnover to 3 000 000 000 USD in the nearest future. Negotiations and consultations are also in progress towards extending a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“At the same time, we are strongly committed to increasing the trade potential and to advance cooperation between our customs administrations. Same applies to the energy sector and all other areas, which benefit of Turkish investments in the total volume of $214,000,000.000.
“We have projects of great significance implemented with and in Georgia, which transform the region altogether. South Gas Corridor is among such strategic projects. We created this platform on the grounds of it. We have initiated multilateral cooperation through interconnecting mechanisms and various combination corridors. I need to note that we have built a corridor within this scope and it is currently labeled as the East-West Corridor connecting the Caspian Sea from the Caucasus to China through Turkey.
“One of the key segments of the Silk Road, being Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway, transports international cargo from our country and Russia. We discussed the prospect of increasing this railway throughput via Marmaray Tunnel.
“We also discussed the fight against terrorism, particularly focusing on the efforts against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).
“We exchanged our views on regional matters. Turkey regards Georgia as a key to regional cooperation. We strongly believe to have all the means to carry out various efforts to strengthen and increase the significance and peace in our region. Within the scope of this endeavor, tripartite cooperation is very important with the engagement of Azerbaijan. Turkey supports any tripartite cooperation – be that Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia or Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey. We also made a decision to hold a high-level meeting of the strategic council any time soon this year and we instructed Foreign Affairs Ministries of Georgia and Turkey to work on the timeframe. We continue to make bold steps forward by using the available mechanisms. With this mindset, I express hopes and remain confident that our views and meeting will facilitate and develop the current relations between our nations,” Erdogan said.
In turn, the Georgian PM stated that Turkey has been an utterly important friendly country and strategic partner for Georgia and expressed readiness for future collaboration.
“You noted very rightly that Turkey has been a Number One trade partner for Georgia over many years now. We have jointly implemented such significant projects as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK), Tbilisi-Erzurum. We have just had a very productive discussion, covering practically every topic related to the cooperation between our two nations. I wish to use this opportunity and publicly express my gratitude personally to you for supporting the sovereignty of our country. Also, I wish to note that Turkey has always been supporting the sovereignty of Georgia and its aspiration towards NATO membership in every existing format. I also wish to echo the statement made by the President in relation to the upcoming meeting of the strategic council, which I truly look forward to. Destiny has made our three nations – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey – interdependent. We have very strong cooperation, partnership and – what is most important – friendship. Very strong basis exists for implementing more joint projects in future both in bilateral and trilateral formats.
“Naturally, we touched upon the current situation in the region. I shared information about the development of events in my country. Logically, we talked about the occupation as well. Of course, peace has no alternative. Every conflict should be resolved through peace. With this optimistic note and attitude, I wish to once again assure you, Mr. President, that we stand ready to work, cooperate and implement a lot of projects together in a very active manner. Once again thank you very much! It is our great desire to see you in Tbilisi any time soon,” Garibashvili said.