Tuesday, September 25, 2012


      Jakarta, Sept 25, 2012 (ANTARA) - Bilateral relations between Turkey and Indonesia have been strengthened following the visits of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Turkey in June 2010 and Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Jakarta in early April 2011.
       The two leaders` visits were historic for both nations because Yudhoyono`s visit was the first by an Indonesian President to Turkey in the last 25 years, while Gul`s visit was the first by a Turkish President to Jakarta in the last 16 years.
       Yudhoyono and Gul in their meetings expressed commitment to stronger bilateral ties and witnessed the signings of various Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), among other initiatives on cooperation in the fields of politics, defence industry, small and medium businesses and joint programs to increase investment.
      They have particularly set an ambitious target to step up their bilateral trade to US$5 billion by 2015. In 2011, bilateral trade figures reached US$2.24 billion or almost half of the target.
      "It`s good. I think there is no difficulty or obstacle in trade. There are many avenues exclusive to respective countries. Indonesia could use Turkey`s platform in Europe to increase its trade value. Turkey, on the other hand, could use Indonesia`s platform in ASEAN," Volkan Bozkir, the chairman of the Turkish Parliament`s Foreign Affairs Committee, said in Jakarta, recently.

Bozkir led a four-member delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Grand Assembly of Turkey on a three-day visit to Indonesia, from September 17 to 20, 2012.

The delegation consisted of Saban Disli (Justice and Development Party), Osman Askin Bak (Justice and Development Party), Mehmet Ali Edipoglu (Republican People`s Party) and Sinan Ogan (Nationalist Movement Party).

"This is the first visit of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Grand Assembly of Turkey to Indonesia. The visit is aimed at boosting relations between the parliaments of Turkey and Indonesia," Bozkir noted on the occassion.

During their stay in Jakarta, the Turkish legislators held meetings with, among others, Mahfudz Siddiq, the chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives� (DPR) Commission I for foreign affairs, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam, Deputy House Speaker Anis Matta, Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Trade Minister Gita I Wiryawan and Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono.

Bozkir and Siddiq, during their talks agreed to strengthen bilateral relations between the two parliaments.

"During our meeting with the DPR Commission I leader, both sides agreed to appoint coordinators to promote exchange of ideas and information flow," he added.

He believed that the two countries, which are also important members of the Group of 20 (G20) and the Developing 8 (D8), could become role models for Muslim-majority countries as well as the world, because both nations have successfully emerged from the economic crisis and implemented political reforms.

Bozkir, from Turkey`s Justice and Development Party, said that his country wants to take part in the various meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), not as a member though.

He was happy that Indonesia, as a leading member of ASEAN and as home of the ASEAN Secretariat, supported Turkey`s request.

ASEAN consists of 10 member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Among the organisation`s dialogue partners are Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India,

Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Bozkir also mentioned that his country, which is very advanced in the defence industry, is ready to establish cooperation in the sphere with Indonesia.

The Turkish government`s willingness to support the revitalization of Indonesia`s defence industry was also expressed earlier when a seven-member Indonesian parliamentarian delegation headed by Mahfudz Siddiq made a three-day working visit to Turkey in April 2011.

During the visit to Turkey, the DPR commission I delegation, which was accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to Turkey Nahari Agustini, was received by President Abdullah Gul and visited several defence industries such as MKEK, T.A.I (Turkish Aerospace Industry), Roketsan, FNSS, shipbuilding industry DEARSAN and Nurol Holding.

President Gul informed the Indonesian legislators about the significance of Indonesian-Turkish bilateral relations. He said at the Cankaya Palace, in Ankara on April 19, that bilateral ties with Indonesia were among the most important for his country.

In the Ankara meeting, the two countries` legislators agreed to encourage close cooperation between the two countries in the fields of military and defence industry.

"We have agreed to encourage and support the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the fields of military cooperation and defence industry that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and President Abdullah Gul have signed," Mahfudz Siddiq said.

In the meeting, Yasar Yakis, the chairman of the Turkish parliament, praised Ambassador Nahari Agustini for his active and productive role towards strengthening Indonesia-Turkey diplomacy, according to Mahfudz.

Apart from the offer for the defence industry cooperation, the new Turkish Ambassador to Indonesia, Zekeriya Akcam, offered 66 graduate and post-graduate scholarships to Indonesian students in an effort to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

He announced the scholarship offer while paying a visit to Vice President Boediono on September 19, 2012, Vice Presidential spokesman Yopie Hidayat told the press.

Boediono expressed appreciation for the scholarship offer, saying that the exchange of students between Indonesia and Turkey would be beneficial for the two nations in the long term.

"It would strengthen bilateral ties and enhance cooperation between both nations," he added.

Hidayat quoted the Turkish ambassador as saying that he would meet the Indonesian Trade Minister and other investment officers to discuss plans to intensify bilateral trade and investment cooperation. ***1***


(T.F001/A/KR-BSR/A/A014) 25-09-2012 19:00:58

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