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Turkey, Serbia should target $2B trade volume: Minister

Turkey's Minister of Youth and Sports, Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu (L) and Serbia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Zoran Markovic (R)

Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu (L) and Serbia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Zoran Markovic (R)

By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan,

Ankara: Turkey and Serbia should aim to increase their bilateral trade volume to $2 billion in the near future, Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu said Tuesday.

“As our presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan [of Turkey] and Aleksandar Vucic [of Serbia] agreed, our aim should be increasing the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Serbia to a level of $2 billion as soon as possible,” Kasapoglu told a reception marking Serbia’s National Day, Serbian Armed Forces Day and the 140th anniversary of Turkish-Serbian diplomatic relations.

Kasapoglu said it was a welcome development that bilateral trade volume surpassed $1 billion for the first time in 2017, adding the two countries have a serious potential to improve economic and trade relations.

“Serbia is a valued friend of our country and a partner with whom we have strong cooperation for improving prosperity and stability in the Balkans,” he said.

Noting that fruitful dialogue between the two countries was of great importance for the establishment of security in the region, Kasapoglu added: “We have full belief in our friend Serbia that its support for our country’s efforts to eliminate FETO [the Fetullah Terrorist Organization] will increasingly continue in the coming period.”

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Serbia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Zoran Markovic, for his part said his country wants to improve relations with Turkey, adding the two countries share common roots, history and culture.

Praising relations between Ankara and Belgrade, Markovic said: “We have a dialogue that ensures the highest level of lasting and mutual benefit.”

—AA

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