Bangladesh and Turkey have potential opportunities to boost military cooperation. Turkey is exporting defense equipment to many countries. The equipment it produces are high-tech and can compete in the international market.
Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan was telling all these to Banglanews24.com in an interview.
Following is the detail interview of the envoy:
Banglanews: Bangladesh and Turkey relation is growing and recently reached new height. What is your observation?
Mustafa Osman Turan: Yes. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Momen visited Turkey in last September to inaugurate the new Bangladesh embassy in Ankara. The modern embassy complex is situated in a nice location. Foreign ministers of both countries held bilateral talks there. Minister Momen also held meeting with the honorable President of the republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A few months later, Turkish foreign minister visited Dhaka and inaugurated our new embassy building here. Both foreign ministers also held meeting here. So, we had some bilateral discussions in the last four months. The conversations that began in Ankara is progressing. I think it will create new possibilities and opportunities for both countries.
How can Bangladesh and Turkey boost bilateral trade and investment and which sector should be prioritized in your view?
-There are ample scopes to increase bilateral trades and investments in the private sector. We have organized webinar in this regard where businesspersons of both countries participated. I would like to inform you that Bangladeshi business organization Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and Turkish business organization DEIK will sign MoU soon to improve cooperation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently visited Dhaka, and he mentioned Turkey is interested to boost cooperation in the defence sector. Can you elaborate on that?
-Yes, off course. I mean it was just one of the issues on our bilateral agenda. Turkey, in the last 10 to 15 years, has been developing its defence industry quite rapidly. We have now capacity to produce 75 percent of our defense equipment. So, most our weapon and equipment are produced domestically in Turkey, which also allows us to export some of the items.
The equipment we produce are high-tech and can compete in the international market. We are exporting defense items to many countries. So, you know this is one of the major areas of cooperation with friendly countries like Bangladesh. Obviously, talks are now in the initial stage but we believe that Turkey and Bangladesh will become closer and have better relations.
What kind of defense equipment Bangladesh will import from Turkey?
-Well, Bangladesh government and the armed forces will decide what they need and what they will procure from Turkey. However, this is not just about buying and selling. We see this as a cooperation like joint venture. You know we don't only sell things; we also want to establish a long-term partnership which may include technology transfer to Bangladesh.
So, we have some very high-tech companies that are producing weapons we recently developed. For example, we are producing missile, military communications equipment, offshore patrol vessels for Navy and many other items. Our production capacity is quite extensive and as I said we are capable of producing 75 percent of our own domestic needs in Turkey.
Bangladesh is facing the Rohingya issue. How can Turkey be more cooperative in that front?
-Turkey has always been on the side of Bangladesh from the very beginning of this crisis. Our First Lady visited Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps in 2017. I think she was the first international dignitary who visited Bangladesh over this issue. Since then, we have been providing support for the accommodation of Rohingyas through humanitarian assistance.
We also supported the International Court of Justice case brought by Gambia against Myanmar. We provided financial and political support for that case. Besides, we always support Bangladesh on Rohingya issue in meetings of International organizations like the UN, OIC and other human rights organizations.
Many Bangladeshi citizens recently turn to Turkey's communication app BiP. Would you like to comment on this issue?
Bangladesh invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to visit Dhaka. Does the President have any plan to visit this year?
-Yes, our president has been invited by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Prime minister sent invitation letter to our president last year in November on the occasion of Mujib Barsha celebrations. The president was very pleased to receive this invitation. He will consider coming to Bangladesh. However, it depends on the pandemic situation and if the circumstances allow for his visit. He will be pleased to visit Bangladesh in March or some other time during this year.
BDST: 2050 HRS, JAN 25, 2021