ANKARA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived here last night to start a two-day bilateral visit that will culminate with the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and Turkey.
Both Najib and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will witness the signing of the FTA at the Turkish Prime Ministry this evening.
Malaysian ambassador to Turkey Amran Mohamed Zin told the media earlier that the visit was upon Erdogan’s invitation when he visited Malaysia in January.
This will be Najib’s second official visit to Turkey, said Amran, who added that the Prime Minister’s visit was very significant as it reflected the increasingly strong bilateral relations between the two nations.
He added that the visit also marked the 50th year of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Turkey.
“The transformation undertaken by our government and the Turkish government has paved the way to build a strategic relationship,” said Amran, who added that Malaysia was also Turkey’s fifth biggest investor from eastern Asian economies, with an investment of US$527mil (RM1.7bil) here to date.
The value of bilateral trade between Turkey and Malaysia increased from US$1bil (RM3.24bil) in 2012 to US$1.1bil in 2013, and Amran said both nations aimed to hit RM5bil (RM16.2bil) within the next five years, aided by the FTA.
Turkey’s investment in Malaysia at present stood at US$106.22mil (RM340mil).
Several memorandums of understanding will also be signed between Malaysian and Turkish academic institutions and business organisations at the sidelines of the visit.
Najib is also scheduled to deliver a lecture organised by one of Turkey’s most prestigious think tanks – the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research – titled “Malaysia-Turkey Strategic Partnership in a Globalising Asia”.
He will also be delivering a keynote address at the Malaysia-Turkey Business Luncheon organised by Union Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, which is the biggest umbrella body in Turkey representing various chambers of commerce and businesses.
Najib will also pay a courtesy call on Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
Those in Najib’s entourage include his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, as well as four MPs and several senior government officials.