Ambassadors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Ankara urged increased cooperation between their organization and Turkey at an ASEAN Awareness Week event in the capital yesterday.
The ambassadors expressed their contentment over the developing ties and welcomed Turkey's recent sectoral dialogue partnership with ASEAN. They added that improving cultural ties would further improve cooperation between the two parties.
Malaysian Ambassador Abd Razak Abdul Wahah, Singaporean Ambassador Ankara Selverajah, Filipino Ambassador to Turkey and Chair of the ASEAN Ankara Committee (AAC) Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez delivered speeches at the event.
At the beginning of the event, the ambassadors planted a tree to symbolize the cooperation between Turkey and ASEAN.
Malaysian Ambassador Wahah said, "It symbolizes our ongoing commitment towards raising the awareness on ASEAN and further enhance relations between the people of ASEAN and Turkey."
The ambassadors later inaugurated the ASEAN room at the National Library which would serve as a tool in enhancing cultural ties.
Singapore Ambassador Selverajah said, "The opening of this Room signifies the growing and deepening links between ASEAN and Turkey."
Meanwhile, the Philippines' Ambassador Mendoza also welcomed Turkey's recent partnership with ASEAN. She hoped the event would enhance mutual understanding between the two sides.
The Turkish ambassador and director general for Asia-Pacific at the Foreign Ministry, Ersin Erçin also pointed to the importance of improving cultural ties for cooperation in different fields.
"We should continue to work together to promote further cultural ties," he said.
Expressing his contentment over the ASEAN room, Director of the National Library Zülfü Toman said Turkey was planning to open bookstores in ASEAN countries to promote Turkish culture.
Chinese Ambassador to Ankara Yu Hongyang and New Zealand's Ambassador Jonathan Curr also participated in the event. Both countries are ASEAN's dialogue partners.
Earlier on Aug. 6, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that Turkey has officially become one of ASEAN's sectoral dialog partners.
ASEAN was established in 1967 and includes 10 states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The ASEAN declaration states that the main aim of the organization is to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development of the region. Turkey's decision to establish institutional ties with the group dates back to 1999.
With its emerging economies, ASEAN is on the rise and has become a new center of attraction in the region. Together, the 10 ASEAN member states form the seventh largest economy in the world, boasting a population of 622 million and a total GDP of $2.6 trillion (2014).