By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey aims to increase its bilateral trade volume with Albania to $1 billion, the Turkish parliament speaker said on Tuesday.
Mustafa Sentop was speaking with his Albanian counterpart Lindita Nikolla in the capital Ankara.
Sentop noted that more than 600 Turkish companies were operating in Albania and that they employ approximately 15,000 people.
With $3.5 billion investments, Turkey is the biggest foreign investor in Albania, he said.
The Turkish parliament head said that his country fully supports Albania's EU membership process.
Nikolla, for her part, thanked Turkey for its help after the 2019 earthquake in Albania which killed more than 50 people and injured over 3,000 others. The earthquake also caused severe damage to infrastructure and buildings in 11 municipalities.
The Albanian parliament head said that Turkey stood by Albania "not only in good times but also in bad times."
"While we are currently in this meeting, a really beautiful event is going to take place in Albania. 524 families will be entering their new homes in January. This happened because of your esteemed President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] and the Turkish government.]," she said.
Turkey started building more than 500 houses in Albania after the 2019 earthquake. Turkey’s government-backed housing agency, TOKI, is implementing the initiative.
Following the meeting, Nikolla visited sections of the Turkish parliament bombed during the defeated coup of July 15, 2016.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the attempted coup, which martyred 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.
Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Sentop recalled that Turkey’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine TURKOVAC has been approved for emergency use.
"I myself took TURKOVAC as a third dose," Sentop said.
"We hope to share this [vaccine] as soon as possible with all peoples, especially friendly and brotherly countries, within the means at our disposal," he added.
Turkey will offer its citizens TURKOVAC as a third vaccine besides Pfizer/BioNTech and Sinovac.