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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 07.10.2013

Press Statement

I have completed a fruitful State visit to the Republic of Turkey. It was the first visit by an Indian President in 15 years. The President and Prime Minister of Turkey expressed appreciation for the visit. I was very warmly received at all places of my visit. I am particularly grateful to the Istanbul University, which is one of the oldest universities in the world, for having conferred on me an honorary doctorate in Political Science. This is not just a personal honour but an honour for India and all Indians. I visited Cappadocia, one of Turkey’s world heritage sites, and was very impressed by the natural beauty of the area as well as the range of tourist attractions in this country.

My meetings with President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan were warm and cordial. Foreign Minister Davutoglu also called on me. I had extensive discussions on bilateral, multilateral and global issues with Turkish leaders. We agreed that there were a number of commonalities in our world view, as well as on developments in our neighbourhood. We decided that India and Turkey should initiate comprehensıve dialogue mechanisms for exchange of perspectives on all areas of our interest. This could cover our cooperation in UN, G-20 and other multilateral groupings, as well as global issues like climate change, sustainable development, food security and energy security.

Both President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan agreed with me that terrorism is a menace threatening the world and we need to deal wıth it both individually and collectively. I briefed the leaders of Turkey on our problems with terrorism, particularly cross-border terrorism. I also briefed them on the initiatives that our Government has taken to promote friendly relations and peace with Pakistan. We agreed that terrorists wreak wanton destruction and have no religion nor friends. Prime Minister Erdogan said that Turkey would like to learn from the experience of India in dealing with terrorism, which he said was a menace which Turkey was also experiencing.

We agreed that it was important to support democracy and development in Afghanistan. Turkey appreciated our significant role in capacity-building and developmental projects in that country. Like India, Turkey is also involved in a range of developmental activities in Afghanistan and Prime Minister Erdogan confirmed that it would continue to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan even after 2014. We agreed to build on this convergence of views.

We expressed satisfaction at the growth in our economic cooperation, both in trade and investment. We felt, however, that there was considerable potential to further expand this cooperation. We decided to convene soon the Joint Economic Committee in New Delhi to address all aspects of our economic cooperation. We noted the adverse Turkish balance of trade with India and agreed to work on means of addressing it, including through enhanced investments in India by Turkish companies and tourism exchanges. In this context, I briefed the Turkish leadership about our ambitious plans to invest about US$ 1 trillion in infrastructure over the next five years and invited Turkish companies, which have great strengths in these areas, to participate in these projects. Indian and Turkish companies could also explore joint venture opportunities in third countries. IT was identified as a promising area for this.

We concluded five inter-governmental agreements during the visit, for cooperatıon between our national broadcasters and their Turkish counterpart, on Science and Technology collaboration, on cooperation between our medium and small-scale industries and exchanges between our national archives.

I briefed the Turkish leadership about India’s efforts for full membership of the four export control regimes and stressed our impeccable record on non-proliferation. We agreed that Turkey and India would continue consultations and discussions on this matter. Foreign Minister Davutoglu conveyed to me that Turkey would be supportive of India, but would need to work with other NSG members on this matter.

I had mentioned in my remarks after the visit to Belgium, my effort to promote the level of research and innovation in our academic institutions. I am happy that four prominent Indian universities concluded six MoUs with their counterparts in Turkey with a view to promoting faculty, student and research exchanges.

I extended an invitation to President Gul to visit India. While accepting it, he spoke of his respect and affection for our country. Prime Minister Erdogan also asked me to convey to our Prime Minister the pending invitation for him to visit Turkey.

I believe that in the course of my interaction with the Turkish leadership, we have made progress in a number of areas. Turkey is an important country in its region and among the emerging economies in the world.

There is significant potential for expanding our cooperation in all fields and we intend to maintain a robust dialogue towards this end across all sectors and at all levels.