Sri Lanka and Turkey will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the near future to further enhance and intensify relations through financial cooperation.
Under this MoU, Türk Exim Bank will allocate a credit line to the amount of US$ 350 million to the Sri Lankan Government, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera said.
Speaking to media following bilateral talks with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday (June 15) in Colombo Minister Samaraweera said the Turkish Minister's visit is significant as this is the very first visit by a Foreign Minister of Turkey to Sri Lanka.
Expressing confidence that over the course of the visit the two countries will build a solid foundation for a "new chapter in our bilateral relations" Minister Samaraweera said they concluded a very productive discussion and signed the 'Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on Diplomatic Training, Exchange of Information and Documentation'.
"Greater interaction between our foreign offices would certainly pave the way for stronger ties in all spheres of cooperation between our two states," he said.
He noted that Turkey has in the recent past renewed its ties and cooperation with Sri Lanka in the spheres of trade, commerce and investment.
The Turkish side was briefed on the steps being taken by the Sri Lanka Government to promote human rights, reconciliation and to strengthen accountability processes as part of the Government's overall objective of ensuring good governance.
Discussions were also held on development cooperation. Minister Samaraweera extended Sri Lanka's appreciation for assistance given by Turkey for priority projects in collaboration with Turkey International Cooperation Agency (TIKA).
Turkey has undertaken a housing project in Mannar and has built 100 houses as a first stage at an estimated cost of US$ 300,000. The project is being implemented by the Organization for Habitation and Resources Development (OHRD).
The Turkey International Cooperation Agency has expressed willingness to finance priority projects and capacity building programs under their grant assistance in accordance with the Sri Lanka Development Framework.
The two sides also discussed the possibilities of closer economic cooperation.
"We are keen that our trade turnover should increase in the coming years. We also want to encourage more Turkish investors to take advantage of the economic opportunities here in Sri Lanka," Minister Samaraweera said.
Economic and technical cooperation between the two countries have been strengthened by the signing of the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which came into effect on 27 November 2007. The second meeting of the Sri Lanka-Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation will be held soon, the Minister said.