President: Turkey and Chile have close cooperation despite distance
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said while Turkey and Chile enjoy close and strong cooperation although they are far from each other geographically, Anadolu agency reported.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Chile's President Sebastian Pinera in Ankara on Monday, President Gul stressed that Pinera's current visit would strengthen bilateral relations.
"Chile is a crucial Latin Amercian country. Chile's relations with Turkey go back to 1913, to the era of the Ottomans. In 1926, our two countries signed a friendship agreement. Chile was one of the first countries in Latin America to recognize Turkey," Gul stated.
"Chile was the first Latin American country with which we signed a free trade agreement. Our relations with Chile have an important past," Gul noted.
"Chile is the place on earth where the most number of Palestinians live out of Palestine. Palestinians who went to Chile with Ottoman passports now number close to 300,000", Gul said.
"While Turkey and Chile are far from each other geographically, they have very strong cooperation. President Pinera is here today to strengthen the cooperation," Gul stated.
"During our talks today, we discussed commercial relations and overall bilateral ones. The free trade agreement led to a trade of 600 million USD with Chile. I do hope that the trade volume very soon reaches a figure over 1 billion USD," Gul expressed.
"We have displayed a will to complete various agreements soon. We do have cooperation in the defense field. Our navy, air force and gendarmery commanders will soon pay visits to Chile. All of these facts show that cooperation between our two countries continue very well," Gul said.
"President Pinera will travel to Istanbul on Tuesday where he would be decorated with an honorary doctorate degree by the Istanbul University," Gul also said.
President Pinera, on his part, said that he thanked Gul for the warm welcome.
"I admire the Turkish culture and history," Pinera stated.
"Relations between Turkey and Chile began during the Ottomans. Chile was the first Latin American country to recognize the Republic of Turkey. The free trade agreement signed with Turkey increased the trade volume by 60 percent. In our talks with President Gul, we decided to boost our relations," Pinera noted.
"We will strengthen our relations beginning with the education, energy, defense and tourism fields," Pinera indicated.
"Turkey makes contributions to all special situations in the world. Turkey has always made contributions to solving clashes in the Middle East and solving the Syrian issue," Pinera said.
"The best cooperation between Turkey and Chile was not the one we have made to date but one that we would accomplish in the future," Pinera stated.
Answering a question on Israeli attacks on Gaza, President Pinera said that they defended the right of the Palestinian people to establish a free, independent and sovereign country.
"At the same time, we do think that Israel should have secure borders," Pinera underlined.
"We watch with concern the current situation. Violence is not the way to solve the problems in the Middle East. The only tool for a solution is communication and dialogue," Pinera said.
"We support Turkey's call for a cease-fire," Pinera also said.
Prior to the joint press conference, the two countries signed an agreement on customs cooperation.