By Gulsum Incekaya
ISTANBUL (AA) - Costa Rica Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez Sanz Thursday welcomed the new friendly relations between his country and Turkey.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Turkey-Central American Integration System (SICA) 2nd Foreign Ministers Forum in Istanbul, Sanz said Turkey and SICA countries were drawing closer to each other.
"Turkey was a distant country in the past, now it is a friend that is increasingly drawing nearer. Turkey is important for Costa Rica and the whole region," Sanz said.
Sanz added that relations between Turkey and SICA countries had improved considerably.
He said the Costa Rican ambassador in Turkey began his duty in 2014 and last May gave a letter of confidence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stressed these acts showed how bilateral relations had improved in past years.
Sanz added both countries were working together to take on such issues as the struggle against climate change and sustainable development.
Sanz, speaking later at a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Costa Rica also saw Turkey as a "regional hub" that opened doors to other countries in the region.
Costa Rica currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA). Turkey is one of the SICA observer states.
SICA -- which includes Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama -- held its first forum in Turkey in February 2015.
The group was established in 1991 to promote regional peace, democracy and economic development.