Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visited Ankara on June 1, where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and co-chaired a meeting between their delegations.
On his first working visit to Tukey as PM, Garibashvili was accompanied by Foreign Minister, Deputy PM David Zalkaliani, Economy Minister Natia Turnava, Environment Minister Levan Davitashvili, and Adjara Region’s Government Head Tornike Rizhvadze.
Following the meeting at the Turkish Presidential Residence, the two leaders delivered press remarks, with the Georgian Prime Minister saying “destiny decided that the three states, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, are interdependent, have very close cooperation, partnership, and, most importantly, friendship.”
He stressed that Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan have “a very solid foundation” to carry out future projects in both bilateral and tripartite formats, and recalling several joint projects, including the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, Baku–Tbilisi–Akhalkalaki–Kars railway, and the South Caucasus Pipeline,
Underscoring that Turkey has “always” supported Georgia’s sovereignty and NATO membership aspirations “in all formats,” PM Garibashvili said he discussed with the Turkish President the situation in Georgia’s Russian-occupied territories, as well as the current situation in the region.
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According to the Turkish President’s press service, during his address, President Erdoğan highlighted that Turkey has been Georgia’s largest trade partner over the last 14 years. He said despite some shrinkage in bilateral trade volume in 2020, they have set a target to reach USD 3 billion, adding that the two countries are negotiating to expand their existing free trade deal.
The Turkish President noted that Ankara views Tbilisi as the “key to regional cooperation,” and stressed in this regard the importance of trilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. “Turkey supports any tripartite cooperation – be that Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia or Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey,” the Georgian Government’s Press Service also quoted President Erdoğan as saying.
Expressing Turkey’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and NATO membership, President Erdoğan underscored “Turkey’s desire for the peaceful resolution” of the occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Abkhazia issues.
President Erdoğan also highlighted that Turkish investments in Georgia, including in the energy field, counts USD 214 million. Noteworthy, that meeting comes amid a months-long tense protest against Namakhvani Hydropower Plant in western Georgia, in which Turkish ENKA Insaat ve Sanayi A.S company is the chief investor. The two leaders did not explicitly mention the Namakhvani issue, however.
At the press conference, the Turkish leader also raised the cooperation to combat terrorism, particularly highlighting the fight against the Gülen movement, referred to by the Turkish authorities as to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETO).
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