By Akbar Mammadov
Turkey aims to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Azerbaijan and increase trade turnover between the two countries, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on September 11.
Pekcan made the remarks after meeting with Chairman of the Azerbaijani Parliament Sahiba Gafarova in Ankara.
Noting that the trade turnover between the two countries in 2019 amounted to $4.4 billion, she said that this figure does not reflect the real potential of the two countries.
Azerbaijan and Turkey signed the Preferential Trade Agreement on February 25 that aims to step up efforts to bring their trade volume to $15bn.
Pekcan also pointed out that Turkey’s exports to Central Asia via Iran were disrupted due to pandemic and therefore the Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian route has gained more importance.
Furthermore, she said that Turkey attaches special importance to the development of trade relations with Nakhchivan.
“In general, we are satisfied with our cooperation with Azerbaijan and believe that we will sign a larger trade turnover.”
Speaker of the Parliament Sahiba Gafarova said that Baku and Ankara were contributing greatly to the development of the region.
“Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway projects can be examples of this. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project is a railway connecting Turkic-speaking countries and can only be compared to the Ancient Silk Road. Our economic ties are at the highest level.”
Gafarova reminded that the trade turnover between the two countries exceeded 2bn dollars in the first six months of 2020 despite the pandemic.
Gafarava who is on her first official visit abroad since her appointment as the Speaker of the Parliament in February said: “As Turkey is the closest country to us, Azerbaijan’s senior officials pay their first [officials] visits to Turkey.”
She reiterated former President Heydar Aliyev’s words that Azerbaijan and Turkey are one nation and two countries. “We share the same language, religion, culture and history. At the same time, the unity of our language and culture allows us to build our future together," Gafarova said.
During the two-day visit, Gafarova also meet with Chairman of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Shentop. The current state and prospects of inter-parliamentary relations, further expansion of the bilateral cooperation, implementation of global projects implemented by the two countries, ways to resolve regional conflicts was discussed at the parliamentary level.
Gafarova will also meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials.
The Azerbaijani delegation that Gafarova is leading during the visit, includes the head of the inter-parliamentary working group with Turkey Ahliman Amiraslanov, the committee chairman Ziyafat Asgarov, MP Sevil Mikayilova, Fazil Mustafa, Elshan Musayev, Tural Ganjaliyev, the Head of the Parliamentary Office Safa Mirzayev and other officials.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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