Turkey sets eyes on the Caribbean

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, along with ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.

Turkey says it wants to broaden its political and trade relationships with Latin America and the Caribbean.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made this request in Santiago, Chile on Tuesday in a keynote lecture at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

He also asked for international collaboration to cope with the crisis of Syrian refugees and the challenges to peace in the Middle East, ECLAC said.

It said the Turkish head of state arrived in Chile on Sunday, which will include visits to Peru and Ecuador.

ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena said that the message of the Turkish president “shows that country’s willingness to strengthen the understanding with this region.”

Bárcena noted that Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations and, in the region, is an Observer Country of the Organization of American States (OAS), of the Pacific Alliance and of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

In addition, she said Turkey maintains contacts with the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and forms part of the bloc called MICTA, along with Mexico, Indonesia, the Korean Republic and Australia.

During his keynote lecture, the Turkish President stressed that in the last decade his country has applied an opening strategy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, where it currently has 13 diplomatic missions compared to the six missions it had in 2009.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country is interested in subscribing free trade agreements (FTA) with Latin American and Caribbean countries “with the aim of strengthening trade exchanges,” according to ECLAC.

The president also indicated that his country currently takes in more than two million refugees that have fled the war in Syria and asked for the international community’s cooperation to confront this humanitarian crisis.

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