UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT, ROMANIA'S PREMIER
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) – Ankara and Bucharest have agreed to increase bilateral trade volume to $10 billion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
"We foresee an increase this year in our bilateral trade volume, which stood at around $6 billion in 2017. During our bilateral talks, we agreed to increase this to $10 billion," Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila at the Presidential Complex in capital Ankara.
Erdogan said over 15,000 Turkish firms are active in Romania in the areas ranging from banking to media and from construction to manufacturing.
"We will continue to support our businesspeople’s investments in Romania," he added.
He also called on businesspeople in Romania to invest in Turkey.
Dancila, for her part, said Romania and Turkey have huge potential and the two countries have carried out cooperation in the areas of defense, trade, education and culture.
Erdogan noted the Turkish-Romanian relations were raised to the level of a strategic partnership in 2011.
Dancila said strategic partnership between the two countries are "very strong".
Erdogan said Turkey expects from Romania to continue its cooperation against terrorist organizations.
"We will not forget the solidarity of Romania with our country after the July 15 FETO coup attempt," the president said.
Erdogan said Ankara continues contacts with officials in Romania for taking necessary steps against FETO-linked people and institutions.
Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating 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.
Erdogan said Romania's taking over of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on Jan. 1, 2019 will be an important opportunity for the relations.
He added Turkey will establish a close relationship with the EU during Romania's presidency in the first half of the next year.
Dancila said Romania continues to support Turkey's EU bid.