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Turkish Minister of State proposes closer economic ties with Greece March 14, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Turkey’s Minister of State, responsible for foreign trade, Mehmet Zafer Caglayan proposed on Tuesday the strengthening of bilateral economic cooperation between Greece and Turkey, while addressing a Greek-Turkish economic forum held in Athens.

“We call on our Greek brothers to take advantage of our strategic geographical position between West and East and plan common Greek-Turkish visits to other countries, for instance, aiming at enhancing our bilateral as well as international economic ties in the midst of a global economic crisis,” Caglayan said in his speech at the opening of the 9th Turkish Aegean Coasts- Greek Aegean Islands Economic Summit in Athens.

Accompanied by more than 200 Turkish entrepreneurs, the Turkish minister stressed that his country wishes to help in every possible way neighboring Greece which faces a severe economic crisis, noting that Turkey had overcome a similar crisis in the past.

“Greek-Turkish relations have been tested many times, but even during crises cooperation on the economic level showed the way towards improving overall ties,” Greece’s Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli said in her speech.

Referring to the 1999 devastating earthquakes that brought the two sides closer, the minister said that today’s “economic earthquake” is a challenge that can be turned into an opportunity for closer Greek-Turkish ties.

Katseli stressed five basic areas for cooperation — enhancing cooperation on the political level, advancing investments to both sides of the Aegean sea, strengthening business ties, improving cooperation in the shipping sector, and working closer together in the fight against illegal immigration.

Commenting on Caglayan’s open proposal for closer bilateral cooperation in sectors such as construction, shipping, fishing, energy, transport, exports and tourism, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis said in his address that “we owe it to our people to aim for enhancing out ties, since efforts so far have proved that we can achieve tangible, positive results.”

Kouvelis pointed out that in 2005 the total of trade transactions between Greece and Turkey stood at 800 million dollars and by 2008 it had reached 3.3 billion dollars.

“In the future, we can plan together for instance how to attract more visitors from far away countries, such as China and Japan, who would visit both Turkey and Greece, enhancing our revenues,” Kouvelis noted, adding that the two countries already work on improving the connection of Greece and Turkey by car, train and ship.

“Things that unite us are so many that if we make economic diplomacy a reality, the rest of things that keep us apart will seem so small,” Kouvelis concluded.

The 9th Turkish Aegean Coasts-Greek Aegean Islands Economic Summit was organized by the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce with the aim of advancing bilateral economic cooperation.

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