Tuesday, March 19

Malaysia-Turkey ties set to grow stronger, says Najib


ISTANBUL: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said several decisions reached between Malaysia and Turkey following his three-day official visit here since Monday, will lead to enhanced bilateral ties in future.

sharing insight: Najib talks about his three-day working visit to Turkey at the media conference on Wednesday. Seen on the right is Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman. — Bernama

The Prime Minister said the decisions made had shown that Turkey truly wanted more significant and strategic relations with Malaysia.

Among the achievements of the meeting between Najib and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Turkish capital city, Ankara, on Tuesday and the delegation meeting between the two countries subsequently, were the agreement to sign the ‘Strategic Framework Agreement’ which, among others, outlined the areas considered strategic by both countries to be developed together.

Najib disclosed this at a media conference, here, before he and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, departed for Malaysia on Wednesday.

“I find that the visit was most meaningful because they had long been waiting for the visit by the Malaysian Prime Minister to Turkey. They always said that 28 years had gone by without any bilateral visit,” he said.

The two leaders had also agreed to sign two agreements between Malaysia and Turkey – the Strategic Framework Agreement and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – by the end of the year.

Najib said the Turkish Prime Minister had agreed to visit Malaysia for this purpose.

On the immediate decision by Malaysia and Turkey to do away with the visa requirement for the peoples of both countries visiting either country, Najib said this gave a strong indication that relations between the two countries would be further enhanced when travels between the two countries would be made easier which would push up ‘people to people’ contact.

“And I believe with the abolition of the visa requirement, not only will there be greater growth in the field of tourism but also people to people contact,” said the Prime Minister.

He said Erdogan’s suggestion that trade volume between the two countries be increased from US$1.3 billion to US$5 billion demonstrated his (Erdogan’s)determination to push the private sectors of both countries to look for opportnities to boost cooperation in business and investment.

Najib said the Turkish companies were strong in the field of construction where they had secured numerous contracts in Russia, North Africa and former Central Asian countries.

“This shows that if we can cooperate with them, we will get opportunities to find new markets for Malaysian companies in the field of construction,” he said.

Turkey too was strong in the field of textile manufacturing; besides oil and gas, which also gave an opportunity to Malaysian companies including Petronas to widen cooperation with the Turkish oil companies.

Najib said Malaysia would also study thoroughly the possibility of the Malaysian national car manufacturer, Proton, to cooperate with automobile companies here as the country had received a big export market for automobiles.

The Prime Minister said the strong military cooperation between the two countries would be further enhanced when Malaysia agreed to establish long-term ties with the leading Turkish armoured vehicle and armament manufacturer, FNSS Defense Systems Inc, in terms of the supply of new equipment for the Malaysian army.

“We are also looking at ways of profiling Turkey and Malaysia where the ‘Turkey Week’ (celebration) will be held in Malaysia and the ‘Malaysia Week’ will be held in Turkey at a time which we will determine (later),” he said.

Najib also said that the Turkish administration model and the Malaysian administration model were now said to be role models to be followed by other Muslim nations.

“To me, this is also a significant recognition that what we have carried out in Malaysia have succeeded to fulfill the aspiration of the people and transformed our country. And in the context of Turkey, they see that democracy in Turkey has led to a more effective and better administration, especially in terms of economy and human rights.”

“Although there are certain differences in our styles of administration in Malaysia and Turkey, but
in general, these are two very good models to be followed especially among the Muslim countries,” he said.

Asked why it was only now that Turkey was showing great interest to boost bilateral relations with malaysia, Najib said this could be due to the fact that they could now see prospects in Malaysia especially in terms of the economy due to the country’s improved performance.

“And they also realise that we have a clear roadmap in terms of the New Economic Model and the Economic Transformation Programme and so on. So, they are attracted to our new direction, that’s why they are very keen to establish relations with Malaysia and we also see that Turkey has recovered especially in terms of the economy.

“If in the past, their inflation rate was at one time 110 per cent, so they were facing an uncertain situation and it was very difficult for us to have strong ties in the economic field, but when they were able to recover and the inflation rate is now only six per cent, and they have achieved a strong growth for 2010, it means that there is confidence in the economic and fiscal management in Turkey and the political stability here
is most evident, and likewise, I believe they have smilar confidence with regard to Malaysia,” he said.

Besides the meeting with Erdogan, Najib also made a courtesy call on Turkish President Abdullah Gul at the Presidential Palace, here on Monday. — Bernama