UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM ERDOGAN, QUOTES FROM SERBIAN PRESIDENT VUCIC
By Diyar Guldogan and Talha Ozturk
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will open a consulate general in Serbia's Novi Pazar city, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday.
"Today, we are taking another historic step within the context of our bilateral relations. Serbia responded positively to Turkey's demand of opening a consulate general in Novi Pazar," Erdogan said at a news conference along with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic after co-chairing a Turkey-Serbia High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in Serbia.
Erdogan said his meeting with Vucic was "very fruitful" and the leaders set "new goals" in their bilateral relations, on the first day of a two-day official visit to Serbia's capital Belgrade.
He also said the bilateral relations between Turkey and Serbia have reached a "perfect" level.
Bilateral trade volume between Ankara and Belgrade reaches $1.2 billion, Erdogan noted and urged Turkish firms to increase investments in Serbia.
"We evaluated what we did in two years. We have set new goals for ourselves. In addition to our bilateral relations, we also evaluated regional developments.
"Our businessmen have investments that create jobs in many different parts of Serbia. I encourage businessmen to invest in Serbia. On the occasion of my visit, we will realize the opening of six new factories that will operate in the fields of automotive, rubber, pipe manufacturing and textile. Turkish investments in Serbia was only $1 million in 2011. However, the investment today has reach to $200 million,” said Erdogan.
The president also said that he together with Vucic set a new trade volume target during the meeting.
“Our trade volume increased to $ 1.2 billion. The renewed free trade agreement entered into force recently. The agreement will ensure that these figures reach much higher levels. Together with President (Vucic), we agreed that our target for the short term is $2 billion and the long term is $5 billion,” said Erdogan.
- New agreements
Prior to the news conference, the two countries signed nine new agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoU) in the presence of Erdogan and Vucic.
They include the Security Cooperation Agreement, MoU on Cooperation in the Areas of Family and Social Protection, MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Industry and Technology, MoU on the Application of Joint Patrol Police Services, Military Framework Agreement, MoU on Reconstruction of Kasapcic Bridge, Cooperation Protocol on Science and Technology, MoU between Turkey's Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) and Development Agency of the Serbia (RAS) and Mou on Postal Services were signed.
- Turkiye Maarif Foundation to open schools in Serbia
Erdogan said that Turkey and Serbia also agreed on cooperation in the field of education as well as culture and economics.
"Turkiye Maarif Foundation began its work to establish schools in Serbia. Turkey offer dozens of university students in our country every year, with the possibility of scholarships from Serbia," said Erdogan.
Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that peace in the Balkans is the most important common goals with Turkey.
"We build the best relationships in the history of modern Serbia and Turkey. Our most important common goal is peace in the Balkans with Turkey. People are not interested in war, they want to live in peace," Vucic added.
He recalled the quote of former Serbian King Aleksandar which reads; "The period of war between Serbs and Turks is over, and now we want to establish good relations with them."
The Serbian president added that he wants to establish peaceful and good relations with Turkey.
- ‘Trade with Turkey 13 percent higher than last year’
Vucic noted that Turkish investments in Serbia are increasing day by day and trade has increased by 13 percent compared to last year.
On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations, special postal stamps will be released on this occasion.