Turkey, Mexico can boost trade to $5B, says Erdogan

- Mexico is the last destination of the Turkish president’s Latin America tour that seeks to boost business and cultural ties.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AA) - Turkey and Mexico have the potential to increase their bilateral trade beyond $5 billion by 2023, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Mexico City after meeting his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, Erdogan noted that only 12 years ago, the volume between the two countries was $1.2 million, and that now, the current trade stood at $1.2 billion.

The Turkish president said Mexico was Turkey's biggest partner in Latin America and gave importance to the free trade agreement between the two countries to realize bilateral trade targets. He assured the full cooperation of Turkish officials to achieve these goals.

He also said that Turkey hoped to sign a free trade agreement with member countries of The Pacific Alliance in which Turkey is a non-member observer.

The two countries also signed bilateral cooperation agreements on tourism and culture.

"We signed three more agreements, including cooperation notice of foreign ministers, tourism, and protection and transmission of cultural heritage," Erdogan said.

The year 2017 will be the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “Turkey can take a step here in a move to declare 2017 a year of culture and tourism between the two countries,” he said.

The Turkish president also offered visa-free travel between the two countries.

He also spoke about opening a new direct flight route between Turkey and Mexico. "We presented the necessary documents to Mr. President over this issue," Erdogan said.

He also said Turkey and Mexico were countries that took responsibility at multilateral platforms such as the U.N., G20, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and MIKTA, or the Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, group.

Erdogan also said that the solidarity between the two countries could be enhanced via TIKA, Turkey's official aid agency, which had 49 offices across the world. His Mexican counterpart appreciated this idea.

He recalled the Mexican president's visit to Turkey in 2013 and said they had a chance of evaluating bilateral ties. He thanked President Nieto for his reception and hospitability.

The president is also expected to visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids on the second day of his trip.

Mexico is the last destination of the Turkish president’s Latin America tour that seeks to boost business and cultural ties. Cuba was his second stop after Columbia.

- Erdogan condemns murders of Muslims in U.S.

At the press conference, Erdogan also condemned the murder of three Palestinians, Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, at the residential complex of the North Carolina State University in the U.S. He cursed the suspect, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, who was charged with three counts of murder.

He called on U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden to condemn the murder in a statement.

"We, politicians, are responsible for murders committed in our countries and have to reveal our reaction," he said.

Erdogan also reiterated his stance against the U.N. Security Council’s permanent block, saying: "World is bigger than five (permanent members).”

www.aa.com.tr/en

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency