President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Croatian authorities to help boost bilateral trade to $1 billion within five years. Erdoğan's remarks came yesterday during his two-day visit to the Croatian capital Zagreb. "Although we don't share a border, we see Croatia as a good neighbor and a sincere friend," Erdoğan told a Turkey-Croatia business forum.
"Turkey and Croatia meet in many common areas due to our common history and values. We now have a political and military partnership. In terms of cultural values, we have collaborations from history. We need to use these values much more actively. I believe that there is no reason Turkey and Croatia cannot reach $1 billion of trade volume. I think we show an exemplary level of collaboration in the region to protect peace and stability. However, our bilateral trade and economic ties have lagged very much behind our friendship. We need to boost the economic and commercial relationships to the level of our political relationships.
"Back in 2006 our [annual] bilateral trade volume was $270 million. Despite the crisis, we have raised it to $355 million. But our goal now is to reach a billion dollars within five years."
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic said that Turkey belongs to Europe economically, culturally, and geographically.
"Croatia recognizes the importance of Turkey and its important mediating role between different cultures and countries, different regions, southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia ... We appreciate Turkey's role in various regional processes and initiatives. We welcome Turkey's commitment to European integration. Turkey belongs to Europe economically, culturally, and geographically," said Kitarovic.
The forum was also attended by a Turkish delegation including Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş, and Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal.