Turkey, Turkmenistan vow to improve trade ties
Trade relations between Turkey and Turkmenistan are likely to exceed $2 billion this year despite the global economic crisis, said Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan yesterday. Trade between the two countries grew 52 percent in 2009 and soared to $1.6 billion in the first half of this year. Turkey is currently Turkmenistan's second-largest trade partner. Caglayan recently hosted a delegation of top Turkmen officials led by Hojamuhammet Muhammedow, deputy chairman of the Cabinet Ministers of Trade, Commerce, Textiles and Customs. Speaking at the third meeting of the International Economic Committee in Ankara, Caglayan said, "Turkish contractors are responsible for 90 percent of all construction projects in Turkmenistan. To date they have completed 608 projects there worth $17 billion, including $2.5 billion last year alone." Caglayan called on Turkish businesspeople to invest more in Turkmenistan's industrial, trade and tourism sectors. He also expressed his desire to boost bilateral cooperation to include more sectors, instead of limiting cooperation to construction projects. He conveyed his desire to the Turkmen officials to create a partnership between the CCI and the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO), and stressed that relations should extend to technical industries too. Also speaking at the meeting, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said relations between the two nations should be carried to a higher level to develop beyond "simple patterns." He said, "Turkey is gaining strength with a well-operating market economy and has proven resilient amid the harsh global economic crisis," He added, "Like Turkey, Turkmenistan has survived the crisis well compared to other countries, and Turkmenistan's strength is imperative to the success and stability of the entire region." Afterwards, Yildiz told reporters that talks are underway on a possible project to increase electricity trade between Turkey and Turkmenistan. Yildiz said they also spoke about Turkmenistan becoming a supplier to the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project.