Saudi Arabia, Turkey bound by history, common values
Turkey will mobilize its expertise to promote regional and global peace, said Yunus Demirer, Turkish ambassador to the Kingdom, on Wednesday.
The ambassador was addressing a packed audience at the 91st anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, held at the embassy premises.
Riyadh Gov. Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was the chief guest. Azzam Al-Gain, deputy foreign affairs minister and chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was also present at the event.
The ambassador and the governor jointly cut the cake to mark the occasion.
“The Turkish nation celebrates with pride the 91st anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey,” he said. “We Turks look back with a great sense of satisfaction at the achievements of our republic. The republican era constitutes a relatively short period throughout Turkish history, but its accomplishments under the vision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk are, nonetheless, impressive.”
The ambassador said, however, that the joyous occasion is overshadowed by the mining accident that recently took place in Turkey.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the 20 miners trapped underground,” he said.
“We celebrate not only the Turkish Republic Day but also the special relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and between our two peoples. We are bound together by history, culture and common values and, as such, very much value this relationship.”
Quoting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ambassador said his country has a foreign policy understanding that defends peace, solidarity, justice and prosperity in the world, respects internal affairs and the territorial integrity of each and every country and upholds human rights and freedom above everything else.
“These values, which we have carefully preserved and safeguarded for 91 years, will remain the fundamental principles of Turkish foreign policy in the future, as is the case today. Turkey will never hesitate to support justice, rightness and peace and will continue to courageously defend the rights of the oppressed and victimized in every single issue.”
“With its steadily growing economy, its democracy reaching higher standards, its resolute European Union strategy, its membership to the G-20 and its active policies in international platforms, Turkey will never abstain from mobilizing its wide experience for the sake of regional and global peace and the benefit of humanity,” he added.
There is genuine opportunity to establish a long-term partnership between Turkish and Saudi business communities, Ambassador Demirer said.
“Saudi visitors also feel at ease in Turkey,” he said, pointing out that Turkey is among the world’s top 12 producers of building materials such as cement, glass, steel and ceramic tiles. “Turkish-Saudi relations date back centuries. We have a lot in common. We are two brotherly countries bound by strong historical, social and cultural ties. Our relations have developed in many areas and evolved to a strategic level in recent years.”
Two-way trade between Turkey and Saudi Arabia had shown a very dynamic trend in the last decade.
The volume of bilateral trade has considerably increased during this period. Both exports and imports have tripled, with trade volume between Turkey and Saudi Arabia reaching $8 billion in 2013.
Turkish imports from Saudi Arabia have been traditionally dominated by minerals fuels. Petrochemical products are the second largest category of Saudi exports to Turkey.
Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia are much more diversified. Steel and iron products tend to dominate Turkish exports, followed by machinery and transport equipment, agricultural and textile products.
“However, I believe that this volume still does not reflect the real potential. There is scope to further boost bilateral commerce,” the envoy concluded.