Turkey to continue support to Rohingyas, improve economic ties with BD

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(UNB) – Visiting Turkish Prime Minister BinaliYildirim on Tuesday expressed his country’s intention to further improve the existing strong trade and economic relations with Bangladesh, and assured of continuing its support to Rohingyas living in Bangladesh.

“We’ve discussed what we can do to improve our economic and trade relations,” he said terming Bangladesh a dynamic nation with nearly 7 percent growth over the past few years.

After a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, the Turkish Prime Minister highly appreciated Hasina’s diplomacy over Rohingya issue and Bangladesh’s support to the displaced people.

He said the bilateral document signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 23 will make Rohingyas’ return to their home possible soon.

The Turkish Prime Minister urged the international community to enhance their support for Rohingyas in Bangladesh and finding a political solution to the crisis looking at it as a humanitarian crisis instead of seeing it as an issue of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday formed a joint working group (JWG) to start the next step of work for the repatriation of Rohingyas living in Bangladesh and signed the terms of reference (TOR).

The agreed TOR mandates the JWG to undertake all the necessary measures to start the safe and voluntary return, resettlement and reintegration process of the displaced Myanmar residents as envisaged in the ‘Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State’.

An estimated 655,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August 25, raising the total Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar to 867,000, said the UN migration agency.

Prime Minister Hasina said she had a very fruitful discussion with the Turkish Prime Minister on bilateral and international issues of common interests.

“We’ve reiterated our commitment to work closely and support each other on bilateral and international issues of mutual concern, including the issue of forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar,” she said.

They talked about consolidating cooperation in key areas, such as, trade and investment, defence, education, tourism and connectivity.

BD for duty withdrawal on RMG, ceramic

Bangladesh Prime Minister requested her Turkish counterpart to withdraw 17 percent and 19 percent additional duty imposed on Bangladeshi RMG and ceramic products.

The Turkish Prime Minister assured Bangladesh of looking into it, Foreign Secretary M ShahidulHaque told reporters at the PMO.

He said Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh and Turkey can explore together the huge potential in the areas of trade and investment.

Bangladesh sought Turkish investment in special economic zones and Bangladesh, if necessary, can offer a dedicated zone for the Turkish investors, said the Foreign Secretary.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister also sought an initiative to quickly finalise the negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

The Foreign Secretary said the bilateral relation between Bangladesh and Turkey moved another step ahead following the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit.

On many international issues like Jerusalem, Syria, and the Middle East, both Bangladesh and Turkey hold similar positions which have made the Dhaka and Ankara relations more consolidated, he said.

Referring to Turkish role at the UN in last September on the Rohingya issue, the Foreign Secretary said Turkey along with Saudi Arabia played a very strong leading role in mobilising international support at that time.

He mentioned that getting support of a country like Turkey on international and political issues is very significant for any country.

Shahidul Haque said Binali Yildirim wanted to know about Rohingya situation as they fled to Bangladesh following the crackdown by Myanmar military in August last.

In reply, the Prime Minister apprised him of giving shelter to over one million Myanmar Nationals at Cox’s Bazar on humanitarian ground.

Hasina also sought Turkish assistance for building houses and hospitals for the Rohingya refugees to be shifted to Bhashanchar.

Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim was present.

Earlier, Bangladesh and Turkey signed two bilateral documents to enhance cooperation in the areas of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and maintain the standards of products.

The documents are Memorandum of Understanding between Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation, Bangladesh and Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization, and another MoU between Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and Turkish Standards Institution (TSI).

The instruments cover areas such as Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), industrial production, standardisation, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and skill development.

The signing ceremony was held after the official talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Turkish counterpart BinaliYildirim at the Prime Minister’s Office.

These instruments cover areas such as SME, industrial production, standardisation, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and skill development.

The two countries agreed to continue to work together for socioeconomic development and mutual interests of the two nations. “We hope to have Turkey by our side in the course of our journey towards development,” Hasina said.

She thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for his visit, especially his plan to visit Rohingya camps on Wednesday.

Supporting Bangladesh’s 2021 target, the Turkish Prime Minister said they discussed how they can contribute to Bangladesh in fulfilling the 2021 goals.

He expressed gratitude to his Bangladesh counterpart and people for their support to Turkish government and democracy.

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