ADDS TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER'S BILATERAL MEETING
By Nazlı Yuzbasioglu
SINGAPORE (AA) – The first-ever Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Turkey Trilateral Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore on Wednesday, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is ASEAN’s 2018 term chairman, discussed future steps and areas of cooperation, said the sources,
The trilateral meeting follows last year's establishment of a sectoral dialogue partnership between Ankara and ASEAN countries.
The discussion was held in line with the framework of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting as part of Turkey’s goal to deepen relations with international organizations.
Cavusoglu is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other participating countries.
"We discussed Turkish-Indonesian cooperation in the fields of the economy, defense industry, and combating terrorism, as well as regional issues including the situation of Rohingya Muslims with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi," Cavusoglu wrote on his official Twitter account after a bilateral meeting with his Indonesian counterpart.
Cavusoglu's bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Binh Minh was postponed due to a schedule change. They will meet another day on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting.
The four-day meeting will see the participation of foreign ministers and top diplomats from 30 countries, including the ASEAN member states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Ankara formed ties with ASEAN in 1999 and attended its first summit in 2013. Also, Turkey got observer status in ASEAN’s multinational police force in 2014 and became a sectoral dialogue partner at last year’s ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the Philippines.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ankara’s "ultimate objective" for developing its relations with ASEAN is to achieve dialogue partnership.
With last year's opening of Turkey's Embassy in Laos, Turkey has diplomatic representation in all 10 ASEAN member states.