Turkey is in discussions to strengthen air-links with Sri Lanka as a precursor to improving bilateral trade between the two countries, according to visiting Turkish Ambassador, Serpil Alpman. “We also believe that direct air-links between Turkey and Sri Lanka can assist in strengthening current bilateral trade volumes in a considerable way. I am pleased to say that official discussions to establish direct air-links between Turkey and Sri Lanka are currently on-going at higher levels,” Alpman said.
“We have become an important actor in global trade and we want to expand our trade cooperation with Sri Lanka as part of our expansion. Various business Chambers of Turkey are keen on establishing links with Sri Lankan private sector to expand bilateral trade,” he noted.
Alpman, who is leading a team of Turkish officials to Sri Lanka, made the comments making a courtesy call on Industry and Commerce Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen.
Responding to Alpman’s comments, Bathiudeen said: “We too are keen on Chamber level trade exchanges and new, direct air links to boost bilateral trade further.
We believe that there is strong but yet unrealized trade potential between both countries which we should jointly explore through these measures.”
Turkey, currently the 16th largest economy in the world and fastest growing in Europe, is currently seeking membership of the European Union and is engaged in a reform process with a stated target of US$ 500 billion in exports by 2023.
Bi-lateral trade between Sri Lanka and Turkey recently crossed the US$ 200 million mark, with Turkey being the sixth largest buyer of Pure Ceylon Tea in the world.