Turkey has become a sectoral dialogue partner for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the country's foreign minister said Sunday.
"Turkey has officially become the sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Anadolu Agency in the Philippine capital Manila, where he attended the organization's 50th Foreign Ministers' meeting.
Cavuşoğlu said Turkey first applied in 2015 and since then had been working intensively in becoming a partner.
"This is, of course, an initiative that fits Turkey's multi-faced, proactive foreign policy," said the minister.
ASEAN - a regional bloc of 10 countries comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - was founded on Aug. 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Çavuşoğlu said the relations with ASEAN members will further develop and Turkish businesspeople will benefit from key opportunities in the future.
"In the upcoming period, the bilateral trade volume with ASEAN countries will increase faster. Also, important opportunities for our businessmen will emerge," added Çavuşoğlu.
Turkey formed ties with ASEAN in 1999 and attended its first summit in 2013.
Later, in a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision, saying the move would set a milestone "in terms of our relations with the organization."
"Turkey sees ASEAN as an effective integration mechanism in its region," read the statement, praising the role the organization played in maintaining political stability, economic prosperity and social stability in the Southeast Asia region.
The ministry said further development of the cooperation between Turkey and the organization would bring the two sides of Asia closer.
"As the new Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN, Turkey's efforts to improve bilateral relations with ASEAN countries and strengthen its corporate bonds with the organization will continue," the statement added.