Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan affirmed the continuous development of relations between his country and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries and stressed the importance of strengthening these relations at various levels.
In a speech during his attendance at the closing session of the 44th GCC Summit, he said that Turkiye's participation in the summit is a reflection of the common desire to further develop relations and expressed his belief that relations and co-operation can be strengthened.
He stressed the great interest that Turkiye holds in strengthening co-operation with the GCC countries, expanding business and establishing partnerships in various fields, as well as opening new horizons and opportunities for co-operation.
The president pointed out that the volume of trade exchange between his country and the GCC countries has witnessed significant growth over the last two decades, reaching $23bn. He also stressed the importance of implementing the free trade agreement between Turkiye and the GCC countries as well as the importance of cooperation in the tourism sector.
Five ministerial strategic dialogue meetings between Turkiye and the GCC have been held, while Turkiye will be hosting the sixth one during the first quarter of 2024, he stated. Turkiye attaches great importance to projects related to transportation routes linking the GCC countries to Europe, as well as co-operation projects in the field of energy, especially considering that Turkiye has maintained its position as a safe haven for international investors and continues readiness to provide all types of support to investors that trust the Turkish economy, he added.
The president also noted the importance of co-operation in defence industries, as its importance has been proven amidst the recent developments. Additionally, he expressed the need to strengthen efforts to diversify the areas of joint cooperation between Turkiye and the GCC countries.
He referred to the Extraordinary Summit that was held in Riyadh to discuss developments in the war on Gaza, as it has shown the importance of solidarity. He also called for the necessity of following up on the decisions made.
President Erdogan highly appreciated the efforts made by Qatar to achieve a ceasefire and a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip. He stated in this context that there was hope that the pause would be permanent, but unfortunately, this has not been achieved since the Israeli prime minister insists on risking the future of the region as a whole for the sake of his internal political agenda.
The killing of children and women, and the loss of the lives of about 17,000 innocent Palestinians is a war and humanitarian crimes for which Israel must be held accountable, he said. In this regard, he noted the aid provided by Turkiye to the Gaza Strip, as well as having a number of patients from the Strip receive treatment in his country.
The main goal lies in achieving a permanent humanitarian truce and ceasefire and establishing the independent State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, the president stressed.
Regarding the crisis in Syria, President Erdogan affirmed his country's aim to find a political solution based on the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and stressed the importance of finding a solid base regarding this co-operation and achieving the return of Syrians to their country.
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