Özgenur Sevinç - Bangladeshi Ambassador to Ankara M. Allama Siddiki has said that the future of relations between Ankara and Dhaka are promising even though they have been strained in recent years.
The Bangladeshi Embassy in Ankara observed National Mourning Day on the 42nd anniversary of the death of the father of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on Aug. 15. On the occasion, Siddiki touched on relations between Turkey and Bangladesh, stressing the commonalities of the two countries.
Commenting on relations, he said: "I am sure a very positive time is coming in a couple of week. In terms of economic cooperation, we hope for a bright future for each other."Bangladesh, which is currently a lower-income country, aims to become a middle-income country and he emphasized that with its population of over 160 million and its potential in agriculture, they are close to reaching this objective.
Siddiki stressed that economic cooperation between the two countries would boost ties and that past incidents should be left behind and a more practical relationship should be developed.
The event at the embassy began with a minute of silence for Rahman and continued with a short documentary on him. Rahman, the country's first prime minister, was a leading figure in Bangladesh's independence war against Pakistan in 1971, and he is revered as the main architect of the country. He was assassinated along with his family in 1975.
Siddiki said: "We lost the father of the nation on Aug. 15, 1975; however, we have not lost his dream." According to Siddiki, Rahman followed a pragmatic and practical policy in relations with other countries. He left an open door for dialogue even with countries that opposed Bangladesh's independence.
Delivering a speech at the ceremony, academic Gürol Baba from Ankara Social Sciences University's International Relations Department contended that in addition to sharing the same religion, Turkey and Bangladesh have other commonalities such as fighting an independence war and the strong leaderships of the founding fathers.
Baba said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Bangladesh in 2010 contributed to boosting ties. Since this visit, trade volume has reached $1 billion.
Dhaka, the capital, was recently subjected to criticism from Ankara on the grounds that schools run by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) continue operating. Turkish Ambassador to Dhaka Devrim Öztürk on Aug. 7 said: "We are expecting the government of Bangladesh to eliminate all activities of Gülenist institutions and its affiliations in the country. The Gülenist Terror Group continues its propaganda in some countries, as well as in Bangladesh. We have sent the necessary documents to the Bangladeshi government. I hope they will be prohibited in a short time"
Touching on the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, Siddiki said Bangladesh was one of the first countries to condemn the incident. He emphasized that democracy and development go hand in hand; therefore, democracies should be respected.