Prime Minister Hun Sen will pay a working visit to Turkey on Saturday and Sunday to boost bilateral cooperation. Turkish Ambassador to Cambodia Ayda Unlu spoke to Khmer Times’ Editor-in-Chief Cheang Sokha about his visit and various agreements to be signed.
KT: Prime Minister Hun Sen will soon pay a visit to Turkey. What is his agenda there and whom will he hold meeting with?
Ms Ayda: As you know, Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Turkey on October 20 and 21. This will be a working visit and the programme will be held in Istanbul. He is going to meet with our President and the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly, so we can say two key leaders of Turkey. We will also have the business part of the visit. Business people from Cambodia are going to meet with their Turkish counterparts. My mission here is to deepen and diversify relations between the two countries. We are very happy to see strong political will on both sides to do so. There is a lot to be done in the political, economic, cultural, and other fields such as tourism, education, health and trade. We have a lot of fields to work in together to benefit from each other.
KT: Are there any agreements to be signed during this visit?
Ms Ayda: We will have the chance to sign eight agreements/protocols during the visit, which will form the legal basis on various fields, like investment, education, agriculture, tourism, sports, cooperation in the field of water and also mine action activity. All are very important documents. So, it is a great opportunity to have them signed in the presence our President and your Prime Minister. There will be also be some documents in the future. So, it will be a full context visit. We have a lot to talk about, and a lot to work on together.
KT: Will the visit lead to closer ties between the two countries?
Ms Ayda: I believe that our current relations do not reflect the real potential in any field. We have a lot of spaces to fill. We are geographically far away from each other, but in today’s world, geographical distance is nothing. The world is getting smaller. Our foreign policy is multidimensional. We are really attaching utmost importance to Asia, Asean, and we see Cambodia as a great partner for us, not only bilaterally but also multilaterally as well. I really believe that this visit will pave the way for closer relations, which we are actually looking forward to. Although we are geographical far away from each other, we have a lot in common, in social life, in culture. We are two countries with long and deep histories. We really have a lot in common. I can see this in social life as well. So, I will be very happy if we can realise this potential.
KT: A Cambodian business delegation is also joining the trip. What type of investments should Turkey make in Cambodia?
Ms Ayda: In all fields, actually. I cannot specify any field, but infrastructure, tourism, health, education and agriculture are some. For me, I can see many fields in which we can work together. The main reason why we don’t have Turkish and Cambodian businessmen in each other’s countries is the lack of awareness of the advantages of doing business with each other. So, we have to fill this gap. We have to show the benefit of doing business in each other’s’ countries. After we do that, I am sure there will be deeper relations.
KT: For the eight agreements to be signed, can you estimate the amount of money to be budgeted for the cooperation?
Ms Ayda: These agreements will form a legal framework. They don’t present specific projects, so I cannot say anything about the budget for the moment. But depending on these agreements, we can, both governmental institutions and the private sector, create projects we can work on together. We can cooperate, we can send delegations to each other’s countries. Anything can be done, but these documents like I have said, will form the legal framework. This is something that we have been looking forward to and I am happy that we can realise it. I hope that it will be a very successful visit, with effective and fruitful results.