Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to pay official visits to Uzbekistan and South Korea next week.
The visits, set to take place on April 29-May 3, will focus on regional ties, while the economy is set to be the main topic on the agenda. Erdoğan, who will first go to Tashkent, will meet Uzbekistan's President Shevket Mirziyoyev.
According to a report in the Turkish daily Hürriyet, Erdoğan's agenda will be the investments to be made in Uzbekistan after the country's decision to open out its economy. The Turkish president gave the first sign of huge investments in Uzbekistan during Mirziyoyev's visit to Ankara in the recent months.
"I hope we will achieve this with our common projects in the field of tourism. We will carry out a giant project for ski tourism there with a Turkish contractor," President Erdoğan said.
Besides the cultural and tourism investments, investment infrastructures in agriculture and the food industry, construction materials, food processing and agricultural machinery, automotive main and subindustry, textile, pharmaceutical industry, chemistry and mining will be among the other topics discussed during President Erdoğan's contacts in Uzbekistan.Erdoğan's second stop will be South Korea, one of the world's largest economies. The Turkish president, who will be hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Blue House, will evaluate regional issues and bilateral relations with his counterpart.
President Erdoğan, who will also attend the Turkey-South Korea Business Forum in the capital of Seoul, is expected to meet with giant companies in the country, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, LG, Hyundai, Daewoo, Daelim, Hanwha, Seoyon, which produces interior parts for many automobile companies, and Hana Investment Bank. Many of these giant companies with annual market volumes totaling trillion of dollars have serious investments in Turkey.
Erdoğan is also expected to give messages on the continuation and increase of these investments. The Kanal Istanbul project, a canal parallel to the Bosporus that is planned to connect the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon previously announced they were interested in, will also be one of the topics discussed during the president's contacts in South Korea.In January last year, a consortium of South Korean companies - Daelim, SK E&C and Limak - and Turkey's Yapi Merkezi OGG won a tender and a 192-month lease for the historic bridge in Canakkale, which is a gateway to the Gallipoli World War I battlefields, north of the narrow strait.
The Çanakkale 1915 Bridge, set to be the longest suspension bridge in the world, is witnessing Turkish and South Korean firms working together in the multibillion-dollar project.
The project has secured a 2.3 billion euro loan, 70 percent of which came from foreign financial institutions. The largest loans for the project, which have been contracted to Turkish and South Korean firms, came from South Korean export credit agencies.The over 2-kilometer-long Çanakkale 1915 Bridge is expected to be built within five-and-half years at a cost of around TL 10.35 billion ($2.8 billion).
In December last year, on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Turkish-South Korean diplomatic ties, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım paid a visit to the country accompanied by ministers and Turkish bureaucrats to discuss bilateral political, economic and commercial relations. Explaining that bilateral trade between Turkey and South Korea stands below $7 billion, Yıldırım said the current figure is not sufficient to reflect the potential and must be raised to between $10 billion and $15 billion.
As of 2016, the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and South Korea was $6.4 billion according to Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) data.