UPDATES WITH DETAILS FROM CAVUSOGLU AND KAMILOV'S STATEMENTS, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Bahtiyar Abdulkerimov and Ogun Duru
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Turkey and Uzbekistan on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding to improve bilateral relations and cooperation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a joint press conference at the Uzbek capital Tashkent announced the signing of the 2022-2023 Term Cooperation Program and Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Translation Services.
He said: "We have great potential to improve our economic relations, and we will make that happen."
Also speaking, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said the purpose of the agreement is to take the Uzbek-Turkish strategic partnership to a new level
He added that the foreign ministers of the two countries discussed bilateral relations.
Cavusoglu said the memorandum "will further develop the relations between both our ministries and our countries."
He went on to say in the future they intend to sign a preferential trade agreement and a free trade agreement.
The Turkish foreign minister noted that his country is among the top five trade partners of Uzbekistan with the most investments.
– Regional issues
Further giving details on the discussions, Kamilov said they talked about Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region which has seen on and off tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
They also stressed on the need to improve relations with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkic Council.
Prior to the joint news conference, Cavusoglu and Kamilov had a meeting where the countries' delegations exchanged views regarding the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council's agenda.
The Joint Strategic Planning Group meeting will take place Tuesday in Tashkent.
"As we start the preparations for the second meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, we will also follow the implementation of the decisions taken and the agreements we signed at the first summit," Cavusoglu said.
"We will also discuss the Turkic Council, Afghanistan and other regional issues," he added.
Regarding the high-level strategic cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan, the Uzbek foreign minister said: "Uzbekistan held the meetings of Joint Strategic Planning Group and the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council with Turkey."
"There are very important issues on our agenda, and we aim to take strategic cooperation to the next level," he said.
Kamilov also said that they will hold the Strategic Planning Group's second meeting and discuss the preparation for the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting.
He stated that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will also receive Cavusoglu, and the Turkish foreign minister will meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov.
– Cultural exchange
Noting that Cavusoglu learned the Uzbek language very well during his three-day visit, Kamilov added: "Once again, you are welcome to Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan is your second home. You are well-known and appreciated in your fatherland, Uzbekistan."
“We regard Turkey with high esteem as a state with high political, economic, cultural potential, strategically and in terms of its security in the international field, as required by the Eternal Friendship and Cooperation Agreement,” he went on to say.
Cavusoglu recalled Turkey was the first country to recognize Uzbekistan’s independence and to open a consulate in Tashkent.
He presented a copy of the letter which indicates Turkey’s recognition of Uzbekistan by former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.
* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara