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Turkish President, Georgian PM Discuss Trade, Regional Security in Ankara

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia is paying an official visit to Turkey on October 31 at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At today’s meeting with the Turkish President, the two leaders spoke of their countries’ cooperation and their role in “ensuring security in the Black Sea region.”

At the joint press briefing following the meeting, PM Gakharia said, Georgia has “close, brotherly ties,” and “a strategic partnership” with Turkey. “I would like to assure you that the Government of Georgia will spare no efforts to further deepen our strategic partnership and to move it to a new, more efficient level,” he stated.

In his remarks, PM Gakharia also noted that “we are very well aware and appreciate Turkey’s role in [maintainint] the Black Sea security, as well as in a wider regional context.” He thanked Turkey for its “firm support” for Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity and noted that “to ensure stable development in the region, any conflicts in the region should be exclusively through peaceful means.”

PM Gakharia stressed that Turkey is the main trade partner for Georgia, although, he said, “this is not enough.” “We can double our trade turnover in coming years,” the Georgian Prime Minister noted.

Turkey was Georgia’s largest trading partner in 2018. Georgia’s trade turnover with Turkey, according to the National Statistics Office (Geostat), stood at USD 1.7 billion in 2018, with exports at USD 233.5 million (USD 216.7 million in 2017) and imports at USD 1.5 billion (USD 1.4 billion in 2017).

On his part, President Erdoğan noted that during their meeting, the two leaders reiterated their determination to “rapidly boost” the volume of bilateral trade to USD 3 billion. Therefore, he said, the Turkey-Georgia Mixed Economic Commission Meeting will soon be held in Ankara, offering an important opportunity for the two sides to hold discussions on the topic.

In his remarks, the Turkish President also underscored that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway represents “a step of historic importance,” which “introduces a new means [of transportation infrastructure] that interconnects the three friendly countries.” However, he stressed that Turkey’s ties with Georgia “mean more than pipelines and railways.”

Erdoğan noted that although “there was some hiatus in the Turkish-Georgian relations at the level of strategic partnership,” the foreign ministers “were instructed today to convene the Strategic Cooperation Council in the shortest time possible.” “I believe our strategic partnership will yield outcomes that benefit not only the two countries but the entire region,” he added.

“We continue our efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Black Sea, a sea who we share with each other, with contributions from Georgia, as well,” the Turkish President said. According to him, historical ties between Turkey and Georgia as well as the opportunities the two countries enjoy “since they are neighbors and have common values” were also discussed at the meeting.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia traveled to Azerbaijan on October 9 in his first foreign visit after assuming power. Later he visited Armenia on October 15. According to PM’s press office, Gakhkaria will also travel to Brussels “as soon as the new composition of the European Commission resumes work.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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