Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday expressed Turkey’s intention to establish a long-term strategic partnership with the Philippines.
In a joint press statement with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Davutoglu said he wanted to “upgrade” the good relations between the Philippines and Turkey to a “strategic cooperation.”
“Until now we have good relations but it is time to upgrade our relations, not only having good relations but having a cooperation and even in economic sense and in strategic manner to develop our relations as two rising powers in global economy,” Davutoglu said.
On economic relations, Davutoglu said they decided to have a joint economic commission as early as possible “to develop our relations despite geographical distance.”
He cited the Air Service Agreement signed yesterday by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek that allows Philippine carriers to fly to Turkey three times a week. Turkey carriers are granted the same privilege.
“Through the Air Services Agreement, we aim to improve trade and tourism opportunities between us, as the number of our respective citizens visiting both our countries increases,” Aquino said.
“For the Philippines, this agreement will help further expand the operations of our own air services, and is part of our efforts to show to the world that we are indeed more open for business,” he added.
Aquino said both countries are likewise working on a memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation, which will cover key areas such as the improvement of investments, marketing, and cultural exchanges, among others.
“With Turkey as our partner, we look forward to further exploring areas of engagement that will open more doors of opportunity for our respective citizens,” he said.
“To this end, we hope to convene the inaugural meeting of the Philippines-Turkey Joint Economic Commission in Ankara by next year to outline the approaches necessary in realizing our shared objective,” he added.