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Turkish Foreign Minister: Bangladesh a rising star in South Asia

  • Published at 04:54 pm December 23rd, 2020
Momen, Cavusoglu
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu brief reporters at state guesthouse Padma in Dhaka after their bilateral talks on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 PID

Turkey supports Rohingya repatriation, lauds Bangladesh’s efforts

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday lauded Bangladesh’s progress saying that the country has become a rising star in South Asia and a sustainable development model for the entire world under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He made the remarks at a joint briefing with his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Padma after their bilateral talks.

The Turkish foreign minister said the Rohingya issue has become a huge burden for Bangladesh and assured Dhaka of Ankara’s continuous support to resolve the crisis. “This burden could be shared by the international community.”

Cavusoglu said the Rohingyas must return to their homeland in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner and this is one of the areas where the two countries will continue to work together.

The Turkish foreign minister supported the efforts of the Bangladesh government to give Rohingyas better living conditions by relocating them to Bhashan Char until the repatriation takes place.

He suggested the government of Bangladesh to work closely with the United Nations and its agencies in this regard.

Responding to a UNB question on burden sharing by the international community, the Turkish foreign minister said he sees the same problem here and the international community praises Bangladesh for their hospitality.

The Turkish foreign minister sought stronger support from the international community in terms of burden sharing, not just appreciative words but concrete steps.

"But we don't want to see only words," he said emphasizing visible action in terms of burden sharing.

On Rohingya relocation to Bhashan Char, the Turkish foreign minister said this is also in line with their proposal that they can build much better camps for the refugees.

But Turkey's firm position is that the Rohingyas should be able to go back to their home. "Until they return, they deserve better living conditions."

Bangladesh has decided to relocate, in phases, 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char amid growing concerns over the extreme congestion in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh's tourism hub Cox’s Bazar district and to avert any risk of death due to landslides and other unwarranted incidents.

Accordingly, in the first phase, 1,642 Rohingyas who expressed their willingness voluntarily for relocation were relocated to Bhashan Char on December 4 amid concerns raised by some human rights groups.

Furthering ties

Responding to a question on technology transfer in the defence area with Bangladesh, Cavusoglu said they are interested to go for joint production and technology transfer in the areas of defence cooperation. “We don’t produce everything. We’re producing 75% of our needs.”

The Turkish foreign minister congratulated Bangladesh for successfully fighting against the Covid-19 under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “We will provide more support if Bangladesh needs.”

He said they discussed how to build Turkish hospital in Bangladesh and they are working on different models.

The Turkish foreign minister congratulated Bangladesh on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, being celebrated until December 2021 and 50 years of Bangladesh’s Independence, to be celebrated in March 2021.

Earlier, the Bangladesh and Turkish foreign ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues, including the Rohingya situation, as the two countries are keen to open a new chapter in their relations with an emphasis on stronger trade and investment relations.

The two foreign ministers met briefly at the same venue prior to the bilateral meeting.

The Turkish foreign minister started the day visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on Wednesday morning where he paid tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Cavusoglu had a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before his meeting with Dr Momen.

Both the ministers jointly inaugurated the new chancery complex of the Turkish Embassy in Baridhara in the afternoon.

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu arrived here on Tuesday night.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen received Mevlut Cavusoglu at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan was also present.

The Turkish foreign minister is scheduled to leave Dhaka in the evening by a private jet.

The Bangladesh foreign minister visited Turkey in September this year and joined the formal inauguration of the newly-built Bangladesh Embassy in Ankara. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually joined the program as the chief guest.

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan recently said his country is eyeing increased investment in Bangladesh and a significant jump in bilateral trade as Bangladesh’s economy is growing fast.

“We see a Bangladesh which has a very bright future. Its economy is growing fast like ours. Turkish investors are keen to invest in Bangladesh as it offers attractive incentives for foreign investors,” he told UNB in an interview at his office.

A prominent Turkish company will initially invest $100 million in LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) sector in Chittagong, Turan informed.

Improving trade between the two countries, boosting investment in Bangladesh, enhancing cultural and people-to-people ties are among his priorities on behalf of Turkey.

The bilateral trade volume between the two countries is now around $1 billion annually and both countries believe there is a scope to increase it further.

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