Serbian and Turkish Presidents, Tomislav Nikolic and Abdulah Gul respectively, said in Ankara on Monday that the time has come for the two countries to intensify mutual cooperation, and announced a real boom when it comes to Turkish investments in Serbia
Nikolic and Gul met behind closed doors to discuss economic cooperation, Turkish investments in infrastructural projects in Serbia and Turkey's influence on the stability in the Balkans.
As for the investments, Gul announced that concrete steps for promoting cooperation have already been taken and that progress was visible immediately after the signing of the free trade agreement, and added that Turkish and Serbian companies are working together on a project of building a highway through Serbia on Corridor 10, towards the Adriatic Sea.
There will be an economic boom and an explosion in the coming . Economic cooperation will intensify, Gul said.
He called on all Turkish investors interested in investing in Serbia to make investments.
I personally encourage them to invest and I say that all this will be part of a development that will contribute to the development of our bilateral relations, Gul noted.
Although Serbia and Turkey do not share a border, we consider Serbia as our close neighbor, the president pointed out.
President Nikolic said that he and his Turkish counterpart both agreed that they will be partially satisfied only when trade reaches EUR 1 billion.
He added that Serbia is open for investments from Turkey, arrival of big Turkish companies, construction of infrastructure, granting concessions on electricity production.
Our friendship is exceeding our economic exchange. Perhaps it should be like that. It is better for friendship to produce economic exchange, than for economic exchange to produce friendship, Nikolic stressed.
He also said that Turkey can be the stability factor in the Balkans.
We will cooperate in every action aiming at this goal, the Serbian president said.
Answering the questions of journalists, the two presidents spoke about efforts of their countries to integrate into the EU, citing this as one more thing that connects Serbia and Turkey.
NIkolic pointed out that he believes that his and Gul's duty's is for the two countries to arrange this, but that EU membership will not depend only on them after that.
Serbia is committed to EU path and will meet all conditions a country can meet in order to become a member, but this does not mean that we will not have high-level bilateral relations with other international organizations, Nikolic concluded.
Nikolic announced that a trilateral meeting between Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) will be held in Ankara in May.
After a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Nikolic said that Serbia has accepted this initiative by Turkey's president. "We support Turkey's initiative for a top-level meeting between Serbia, BiH and Turkey. President Gul has proposed to host the meeting in Ankara in May, and we accepted that," Nikolic said.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic met Monday morning in Ankara with Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
Nikolic was welcomed at the presidential palace with the highest state and military honors - an honor guard and a 21-round salvo, as well as a rendition of the two national anthems.
After a one-on-one between the presidents, a meeting of the Serbian and Turkish delegations will be held, followed by the signing of an agreement between the two governments in the areas of youth and sport.The two presidents are expected to address the media later in the day.
Earlier Monday morning, Nikolic visited the Ataturk memorial center, dedicated to father of the Turkish nation Kemal Ataturk, where he laid a wreath.In the memorial book, Nikolic wrote: I am honored to be able to bow to the shadow of the man whose vision brought this beautiful country and people to its feet. This great nation deserves a great father like Kemal Ataturk. Turkey will live on as long as his idea is alive.
Later in the day, Nikolic will meet with Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, and in the evening the Turkish president is hosting a gala dinner for the Serbian delegation at the presidential palace.
On Tuesday, the Serbian president will confer with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and attend a forum of Serbian and Turkish businessmen. A delegation of Serbian businessmen, headed by Chamber of Commerce President Milos Bugarin, is also visiting Turkey.
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