Montenegro's envoy to Ankara, Perisa Kastratovic, hailed relations of the two countries and said that the dialogue between Turkey and Montenegro continues at the highest level.
Kastratovic, in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), said that it is an honor for him to be Montenegro's ambassador to Turkey. "The highlight of my term here is the visit of (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan, which occurred in August 2021," he added.
He noted that it was Erdoğan's first visit to Montenegro, and added that it was a "historic visit for us. So, we were honored by his presence."
Recalling that he took up his duty in Turkey in times of COVID-19, he said: "I was touched by the humanitarian aspects of Turkish diplomacy. Because we were one of the countries that Turkey helped at the beginning of the pandemic."
The ambassador encouraged the Turkish people to visit Montenegro: "They will feel as if they are at home. They do not need a visa. It is very good for them to see the beauties of Montenegro and enjoy it."
He shared a brief collection of his observations on Turkey: "First of all, I'm impressed by the people and hospitality. Since I arrived here, I never felt like I was in a foreign country."
Besides, speaking about Montenegro President Milo Dukanovic's last visit to Turkey in June, Kastratovic said Turkey and Montenegro's presidents are in close contact and that the Balkan nation's president is scheduled to pay an official visit to Ankara at the end of this year.
"I think that this will open new horizons for the relations between the two countries," he added.
Meanwhile, commenting on the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Montenegro, Kastratovic said the two countries have a common goal to reach the target of $250 million (TL 4.3 billion).
"We were on the right track before the pandemic because we managed to achieve $150 million then this number was diminished because of the pandemic," he added.
But definitely, he said, the two states should use their "excellent political relation" to develop further their cooperation in all the fields, especially in the field of economy.
"We must work harder to better present natural beauty and the potential of our country. We can learn a lot from Turkey, especially in the fields of tourism, energy, and agriculture, which are also the main sectors of our economy," the envoy noted.
He said that the necessary legal infrastructure has been established between the two countries and all necessary agreements have been signed. "So, the two countries should use this opportunity to increase their trade and to further enhance their cooperation in all fields."
Besides, highlighting the importance of the agreements signed between the two countries in the field of education and culture, Kastratovic said "we have more than 400 students who graduated from Turkish universities and speak very fluent Turkish language."
"I think it's very important for the future development of the relations ...They are very satisfied with the level of education. This is an investment for the future," he added.
Additionally, the TV shows and the Turkish series are very popular in all of the Balkans, he said, adding one of the agreements signed includes movie production and cooperation in this sector. Therefore, there is "definitely potential and I think that we should do even more in this field."
Both countries are members of the Southeast European Cooperation Process, one of the largest regional organizations, Kastratovic said, adding Montenegro, which will take over the presidency from Greece this year, will also benefit from the experiences of the previous Turkish presidency.
The two countries have a "very good track record of exchanging support for candidacies in international organizations. And I think that we should continue in that direction," the envoy added.
As two NATO countries, Turkey and Montenegro should continue to increase cooperation, he said, adding, that Turkey’s support was "very important for us in the process of our membership in the alliance."
"We managed to become members of NATO in 2017. And I think this is important because you know that we are living in a turbulent time in the turbulent region," he said.
The ambassador went on to say that Montenegro is trying to be the factor of stability in its region and to contribute to the stability of Europe by its membership. "This difficult time is showing that this was the right decision. "
Evaluating the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine War, Kastratovic said they support the Ukrainians who "defend the territorial integrity and independence of their country" and have condemned the attacks against Ukraine from the very beginning.
Pointing out that the war created a difficult situation in terms of food and energy, he said: "We need more cooperation. But the shortage of food and the shortage of energy supplies should not be an excuse for not protecting the most important values."