Relations between Turkey and Uzbekistan have been following a positive course and have made concrete progress in every field, Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said yesterday, expressing his satisfaction with the development.
In his address at the Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Forum in the capital Ankara, Oktay said he believed that the event, which brought together business communities of the two countries, will prove a milestone to begin a new era in their relations.
Underlining deep-rooted ties between Turkish and Uzbek people, he said both countries share civilization, history, language and culture.
"In recent years, we have been pleased to see that our relations with the friendly and brotherly country of Uzbekistan are positive and make concrete progress in every field," Oktay added.
He said the first meeting of the high-level strategic cooperation council will be held later this year in Turkey during the visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The decision to form the council was made during the visit of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Uzbekistan in April 2018. On the other hand, Uzbekistan's Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiyev called for joint efforts to develop and strengthen relations between the two countries.
"I believe that our relations based on mutual respect and trust will continue to develop in the interest of our two peoples," Ganiyev said.
He said the volume of trade between the two countries had reached $2.2 billion with an increase of 40 percent over the previous year. "This is not satisfactory as our potential is much higher," Ganiyev added. He called for taking urgent measures to increase the trade volume to $5 billion annually.
UZBEKISTAN EYES CLOSER TIES WITH TURKEY VIA MAGAZINES
In the meantime, Uzbekistan's Embassy in Turkey introduced new magazines on Monday in a bid to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.
The embassy presented the New Uzbekistan magazine in Turkish and New Turkey magazine in Uzbek, aiming for them to become a "guide" for businesspeople for "illuminating" their activities in both countries, Uzbek Ambassador to Turkey Alisher Agzamhadjaev said in a speech at a hotel in the capital Ankara late Monday.
In his address at the ceremony for the launch of the magazines, Oktay said Uzbekistan has a strategic position with its geopolitical and historical ties while neighboring all states in Central Asia.
Turkey is aware of Uzbekistan's potential in all areas and is ready to support it in all matters to carry it higher, he said.
Oktay also said the visit of a delegation from Uzbekistan to Turkey would make significant contributions to the development of ties between the "friendly and brotherly" countries.
"I believe that our countries, which are connected by brotherhood and are two important stops on the historical Silk Road, will work together for a more prosperous and peaceful future," Oktay said.
Turkey and Uzbekistan share similar languages, cultures and joys as well as sorrows, he added. "The friendship and brotherhood are the greatest power for us, the most precious treasure to be protected."
Oktay stressed that the bilateral trade volume between the countries reached $900 million in the first five months of 2019, adding that by the end of the year, they expect it to reach $2 billion.
Underscoring the importance of the Joint Economic Commission meeting held in Ankara, Oktay said the two countries are looking to increase the trade volume to $5 billion in the medium term. Agzamhadjaev, meanwhile, stressed that intensive work is ongoing on improving bilateral relations between Turkey and Uzbekistan.
"Our doors are open to Turkish citizens, and Turkey's doors are open for our [Uzbek] businessmen," he said.
Addressing the event on Monday, Ganiev said efforts are being carried out by both sides to further develop bilateral relations, adding relations "have moved to a new stage in terms of quality."
Uzbek-Turkish relations are growing, developing and progressing in all areas without slowing down, Ganiev said.
"Over the last two to three years, Uzbek-Turkish relations have been experiencing developments that have not been previously observed," Ganiev said, underlining the historical, moral and spiritual ties between the "brotherly people." Bilateral relations have increased to the point of joint strategic cooperation, he added.
Ganiev said 225 companies were established with the Turkish capital in Uzbekistan in the first half of 2019, adding the total number of Turkish companies in his country exceeded 1,000. He also said the magazines presented by the Uzbek Embassy will be filling an information gap and informing Turkish people about the latest developments in Uzbekistan during the past two to three years as well as addressing developments that took place in Turkey over the last 15 years.
"I believe that such publications will allow us to get to know each other better and to better comprehend our historical and spiritual ties," he said.
The event was accompanied by traditional Uzbek music, a cultural performance and cuisine and was attended by politicians, lawmakers, bureaucrats and diplomats as well as representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and Turkish and Uzbek citizens.