ADDS MEETING BETWEEN TURKISH PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, UZBEK LEADER
By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Relations between Ankara and Tashkent have made a "huge" progress since Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said Monday.
"Bilateral relations have made a huge progress in the last two years after Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office as president," Yildirim said during a meeting with Nuriddinjon Ismailov, the speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Uzbekistan's Supreme Assembly, in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.
Yildirim added it was high time to boost bilateral relations in every field and increase cooperation between the parliaments.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan in November 2016, and Mirziyoyev paid an official visit to Turkey in 2017 which saw the signing of dozens of agreements in several areas between two nations.
Ismailov, for his part, said the bilateral relations have developed rapidly in the recent years.
Yildirim also met Uzbek Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev.
Later, Yildirim was received by Mirziyoyev, according to a statement from Uzbek presidency.
Mirziyoyev said close and friendly Uzbek-Turkish relations have reached the level of strategic partnership thanks to the political will and joint efforts.
He added the political dialogue has been actively developing. Joint investment programs and projects have been implemented with leading Turkish companies in the areas of trade, innovation, energy, infrastructure, transport, tourism and textile.
Yildirim, for his part, praised the large-scale reforms being carried out in Uzbekistan, saying that the Turkish side was ready to give all possible assistance in implementing projects that aimed at modernizing the country's economy and social sphere.
According to the statement, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the traditional friendly relations and long-term strategic partnership.
Later, attending a ceremony organized by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in Tashkent, Yildirim said Turkey aims to increase the bilateral trade volume with Uzbekistan to $2 billion.
"In all aspects, we support Uzbekistan's development efforts in the economic and social areas because Uzbekistan's wealth is our wealth, and the peace of Uzbekistan is our peace," Yildirim added.
He also said the total amount of the projects realized by TIKA in Uzbekistan between 2002-2017 exceeded $24 million.
During his stay, Yildirim is also set to visit the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.
* Diyar Guldogan from Ankara contributed to this story