TURKEY, July 6 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Turkey is ready to support Thailand in solving problems in predominantly muslim southern region, as well as agreed to boost economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Thai premier, who is also defence minister, is now on an official visit to Turkey as guest of the Turkish government, to explore new opportunities and cooperation.
Before arriving to Turkey, she visited Poland which Thailand considers as a gateway to Europe and seeks to upgrade economic relations.
Turkey is considered a new market for Thai trade, investment, and tourism, a connecting point between Europe and Asia, and a large, moderate Islamic country which is influential with Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Balkan states, as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
PM Yingluck’s visit to Turkey marks the first visit of a Thai Prime Minister in the last 8 years upon the invitation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey extended during their meeting at the Bali Democracy Forum in November 2012.
After the Thai premier held bilateral talks with her Turkish counterpart, she said Turkey has good understanding of the situation in Thailand’s deep South as well as the Thai government’s attempts to build peace in the region.
“Turkey, with its roles in OIC, understands the Thai government’s operations including peace building and economic development in the violence-plagued border provinces,” stated Ms Yingluck. “Turkey is ready to share experiences with Thailand as it once faced similar problems in its border provinces.”
Ms Yingluck added Turkey is also willing to encourage students in Thailand’s southern border provinces to study in Turkey.
Regarding trade and investment, Ms Yingluck said Turkey is ready to facilitate Thai investors and extend more cooperation to Thailand in trade missions.
The Thai and Turkish Prime Ministers have also agreed to start the process of setting up a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as a joint feasibility study would begin working soon.
The Thai premier is accompanied in both Poland and Turkey trips by representatives from the private sector, business councils and associations in diversified areas such as food, energy/green economy, tourism/medical tourism, construction, and the automotive industry.
PM Yingluck and the Thai delegation are scheduled to return to Bangkok from Istanbul later tonight.