Thai FM: "Turkey is our strategic partner"
Turkey and Thailand are strategic partners whose commitment to each other means they can improve ties, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said late last week, concluding his official visit to Istanbul and Ankara. "My coming here is precisely to reaffirm to each other that we can be excellent partners," he said after meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, adding that both agreed that they are strategic partners. The two countries last year celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties and have announced intentions to boost high-level mutual visits in the near future. The Thai foreign minister said both Turkey and Thailand can play a strategic role in their regions. "There is a political will and determination to finalize (bilateral) agreements," he said. "All we need to do is to convert these agreements into action." Trade between the two countries stands at $1.3 billion, but tourism between the two countries is low. "We neglected each other since we've been preoccupied by domestic and regional concerns, especially security matters when we were fighting communism," he explained. "We were cut off from each other by the Cold War and colonialism." During his visit, Piromya also met with representatives of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), and the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), and they agreed to facilitate visits by businesspeople from both countries in the near future.