World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that, "a new period starts between Turkey and Brazil today," after notably their diplomatic cooperation over Iran's nuclear program -- as he made an unprecedented visit to the South American nation.
"We target to improve bilateral relations between Turkey and Brazil to strategic partnership," Erdogan said while addressing Turkey-Brazil business forum.
Erdogan is the first Turkish prime minister ever to visit Brazil.
Erdogan said economic and commercial relations would constitute the most important part of that partnership.
Anadolu news agency reported, Erdogan said Turkish-Brazilian relations had gained a new dimension after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Turkey in May 2009.
"I wish today's meeting will have concrete benefits to both sides, and boost our economic relations," he said.
Erdogan said Turkey and Brazil, two important actors of different geographies, should boost their cooperation not only in bilateral level but also regional and global level.
Brazil was the biggest tenth economy in the world, Erdogan said.
Erdogan also said Turkey had become the 17th biggest economy in the world today with an annual growth of 4.3 percent, and it was the biggest sixth economy in Europe.
Commenting on Turkish economy, Erdogan said global crisis had some impact on Turkish economy and noted that, "Turkey managed to contain this impact and succeeded in overcoming with the least damage."
"In the last quarter of 2009, Turkish economy recorded 6 percent growth. The shrinkage in whole of the year was below the estimations and recorded as 4.7 percent. Many financial institutions, including IMF, World Bank and OECD reaffirmed that Turkey would be the fastest growing country of the world in 2010 and afterwards. Turkey preserves its high growth performance despite the serious problem in Europe," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said, "since September 2008, the time when signals of global crisis started, rating note of many countries were reduced, notes of only 17 countries were upgraded. Turkey was the only country whose credit note was upgraded one after the other by four different institutions."
Erdogan said active initiatives of Turkey in foreign policy had positive reflections on foreign trade, "as Turkey served to peace in its region with the approach 'zero problem with neighbors', it gained the confidence of the neighboring countries being the address of compromise and mediation. We have broadened the axis of foreign trade and commercial relations to a great extend. We have been endeavoring to boost cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbeans as well as initiatives to Africa."
"Brazil is the main trade partner of Turkey in Latin America and the Caribbeans region. Turkey's trade volume with Brazil, which was 1.7 billion USD in 2008, dropped 1.4 billion USD in 2009 with the impact of global financial crisis. The figures in question do not reflect the real potential. Turkish and Brazilian governments are resolved to rise trade volume," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said conclusion of Turkey-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement will contribute to boosting of bilateral trade volume, "agreement to prevent double taxation (foreseen to be signed with Brazil on Thursday) will be in the benefit of the investors of the two parties. Developing cooperation in energy is at a satisfactory level."
Addressing Brazilian businessmen, Erdogan said, "Turkey has a central position where you can reach to 52 countries with a three-hour flight. Brazilian businessmen may access to Central Asian, Middle East and African markets via Turkey or over business partnerships in Turkey."
"Thanks to the direct flights of THY from Sao Paulo to Istanbul that started last year, transportation to markets in Turkey's regions has become more easier for the Brazilian businessmen. I also believe that contracting sector will have an important place in boosting of economic and commercial cooperation between our countries," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said, "Turkish construction sector assumed assertive projects in many geographies in the world and gained rightful appreciation of the world. This sector has achieved 155 billion USD business volume in 70 countries. Turkey's 31 companies ranked in the list of the first biggest 225 international contractors of the word. I think this sector may undertake infrastructure and superstructure projects in Brazil."
"Turkey presents innumerable opportunities for international companies with its 73 million young population, dynamic and free economy, big internal market, competitive industry and well trained business force. Economic policies pursed in the recent years have risen confidence in Turkish market. There is significant rise in number of direct foreign investment to Turkey," Erdogan said.
"New period after Iran deal"
On Iran's nuclear program, Erdogan said Turkey and Brazil achieved a significant success on May 17.
"We have become the architects of a promising step aiming at the solution of Iran's nuclear program controversy, which has engaged the international community for a long time," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said Turkey and Brazil, as members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and G-20, were contributing to global peace and welfare.
"Our cooperation will gain a new dimension with the third forum of the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative Brazil will host in Rio de Janeiro on May 28," he said.
Erdogan said these contacts and close cooperation were the first examples of how big things Turkey and Brazil could achieve in their region and the world.
Erdogan said, "Turkey has become a center of attraction due to its active stance in foreign policy, peaceful approach and credible position. Turkey's reforms in domestic policy and reforms in economy continue. With the reforms Turkey strengthens is position as a stable country. I would like to reaffirm that Turkey is a credible country presenting very big opportunities. Turkey's reliable businessmen, successful contractors, experienced industrialists, solid economic structure and stable political structure should attract Brazilian friends to Turkey."
With the agreement signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Iran committed to give the 1200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.
Erdogan said, "a new period starts between Turkey and Brazil today. Successful cooperation on problem regarding Iran, joint efforts in Alliance of Civilizations Project and dialogue between the businessmen of Turkey and Brazil opened new gates for the two countries. I wish this new process to be in the advantage of the peoples of the two countries as well as the economy circles."
Separately, Erdogan was given medal of Sao Paulo's Industry Federation over his contributions to industry.
"Deals to be signed"
Erdogan attended the inauguration ceremony of Turkey's new Consulate General in Sao Paulo, and First Turkey Export Goods Fair, and visited Embraer, the third biggest aircraft factory in the world, on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Erdogan is scheduled to meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and exchange views on international and regional matters. Two countries are expected to sign several agreements during the prime minister's visit.
Premier Erdogan will also meet Michel Elias Temer, the president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil.
Erdogan is expected visit Brazilian Oil Company PetroBras, which carries out joint oil research studies with Turkey's TPAO in the Black Sea.
The Turkish prime minister will proceed to Rio de Janeiro on May 27 to attend Third Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations which will take place on May 28-29.
Erdogan will address the opening of the forum and attend lunch which will be hosted by Brazilian President Silva.
Premier Erdogan will return to Turkey on June 2 after visiting Argentina and Chile.