Turkey seeks increased cooperation with Philippines

Manila’s foreign affairs department says Turkey wants to boost cooperation in defense field, peace process in Mindanao

Turkey seeks increased cooperation with Philippines

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that Turkey wants to increase cooperation with the archipelago, mainly in the field of defense and in current peace efforts in southern Mindanao island.

A statement quoted Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario as saying that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had conveyed this message to him in their bilateral talks Tuesday on the sidelines of the 48th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur.

According to the department, Cavusoglu called for increased use of bilateral mechanisms, such as dialogues and high-level visits, to improve ties between the countries, citing defense cooperation as one area where they could work closely together.

Del Rosario said bilateral relations with Turkey had significantly moved forward since the official visit of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last November.

He mentioned the upcoming Philippines-Turkey Joint Economic Committee Meeting and the 3rd Philippines-Turkey Political Consultations -- to be held in September and October, respectively -- as indicators of this positive trend.

Del Rosario also lauded the signing in 2014 of the Air Services Agreement, which had paved the way for direct flights between Manila and Istanbul by Turkish Airlines, Turkey's national flag carrier.

He likewise relayed the deep appreciation for Turkey’s assistance in the Mindanao peace process -- particularly through the Independent Decommissioning Body and the International Contact Group -- between the Philippines’ government and one-time largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Turkey offered $500,000 to cover the operational costs of the decommissioning body, which inspected the firearms that were symbolically turned over to the Philippine government by over a hundred former members of the MILF’s armed wing last June as a confidence building measure under a peace agreement signed in March 2014.

Also helping in the peace efforts are the European Union, Norway, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya and Brunei.

Cavusoglu told Del Rosario that the Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency is keen on increasing development with the Philippines, as well as ongoing contributions to the Mindanao peace process.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ağustos 2015, 10:01