Manila, 30 July 2019 (PNA)
The Philippines and Turkey are eyeing a stronger engagement on the field of defense, economics, and education, following the first bilateral meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in Bangkok on Tuesday (July 30).
The two met for the first time on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences and Related Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand.
During their meeting, the top diplomats discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the Philippines and Turkey in various fields such as defense, trade and investments, culture, and education, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In 2018, the two states inked a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation, with focus on government-to-government acquisition, as well as the development, production, co-production, and transfer of defense technology between the Department of National Defense and Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries.
But aside from defense, Turkey’s commitment to improving ties with Manila expands to the Mindanao Peace Process.
According to the DFA, Turkey serves as the Chair of the Independent Decommissioning Body under the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Framework. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency is also active in Mindanao with its various development projects and activities.
On multilateral cooperation, Locsin and Çavuşoğlu discussed Turkey’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a sectoral dialogue partner. Turkey’s partnership with ASEAN was confirmed during the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017.
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Anadolu, Turkey’s state-run media, reported that Ankara’s trade volume with ASEAN countries reached around USD1.3 billion in 2002, and increased to USD8.7 billion in 2018.
Meanwhile, direct foreign investment from Turkey to ASEAN rose 55 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
Turkey, which has a free trade agreement with Malaysia and Singapore, is now holding talks with Thailand and Indonesia. (PNA)