ANKARA: Turkiye hopes the upgrading of its ties with Malaysia to comprehensive strategic partnership will further strengthen economic and commercial cooperation, including on vaccine development.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said among the immediate plans was for the republic, which became the ninth country in the world that is capable of producing its own Covid-19 vaccine last year, to launch its locally produced vaccine, TURKOVAC, in Malaysia.
"We want to transfer vaccine technology and to carry out vaccine development studies together," he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is in the country on a four-day official visit.
During the leaders' meeting held at the Presidential Complex in the capital, Erdogan said they discussed cooperation in various fields such as economy, investment, trade, defence industry, technology, health and communication.
"On this occasion, we once again confirmed our determination to carry forward our cooperation, which is getting deeper with each passing day. Upon the proposal of the Prime Minister, we decided to upgrade the relations between our countries from a strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.
Erdogan said Malaysia-Turkiye relations have reached an exceptional level, with trade volume exceeding US$3.5bil and Malaysia becoming the republic's largest commercial stakeholder in South-East Asia.
He said the trade volume increased by 50% last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and the figures for the first six months of 2022 also showed a further increase that was in line with their target of US$5bil by 2024.
The President said he believed that expanding the Free Trade Agreement to include services, investments and electronic commerce will further strengthen their economic and commercial ties, as well as make the trade of goods and services more balanced.
The two leaders also discussed the possibility of new cooperation models and investment projects, such as in food security, energy and environment.
"I would like to emphasise that we have always felt the support of Malaysia on our side," he said, adding that he and Ismail Sabri also discussed the Rohingya and Islamophobia issues.
According to him, both countries would strengthen their solidarity in platforms such as the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and D8.
"We are working to strengthen our cooperation with all our brothers in Asia with our win-win understanding with our Asia Again initiative.
"We aim to raise our cooperation with Asean, of which we are a sectoral dialogue partner, to the status of a dialogue partnership," he said. - Bernama