Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said after talks with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi that Turkey has “close friendly and neighborly” relations and strongly supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and its aspiration to Euro-Atlantic structures. He also noted that economic relations between the two countries should be further “diversified.”
President Sezer arrived in Tbilisi for a two-day official visit on March 14. The two Presidents made statements for the press without Q&A with journalists. President Sezer also plans talks with Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze and Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli.
In a statement Ahmet Necdet Sezer noted that “effective reforms carried out by the Georgian government have fostered the country’s development.”
“As in previous years, Turkey, within its capabilities, will further contribute to Georgia’s political and economic stability and development,” he added.
“Turkey supports Georgia’s orientation towards Euro-Atlantic integration and in particular Georgia’s aspiration for NATO integration. We hail Georgia’s steps undertaken towards this direction,” the Turkish President said.
“We want South Ossetian and Abkhazian problems to be solved in frames of Georgia’s territorial integrity through peaceful and constrictive means. We would like all these problems to be solved in a shortest period of time… We also would like creation of an atmosphere of broad cooperation in the South Caucasus. In this regard we support the Georgian government’s peace plan over South Ossetia,” Ahmet Necdet Sezer stated.
In the statement the Turkish President noted importance of repatriation of Meskhetians, who were deported from Georgia in 1944.
“We are watching with interests in recent year a positive work of the Georgian government in respect of repatriation of Muslim Meskhetians. Turkey is ready to contribute to this process of repatriation,” he said.
President Sezer said that during the talks the two Presidents agreed to further boost bilateral ties through new economic projects.
“We think that our economic cooperation will become more diversified through new projects in the fields of transport, energy, investment, trade, tourism and fishing. It is obvious that finalization of legislative base for economic cooperation will further foster development of our cooperation,” the Turkish President said.
“Efforts are underway in order to supplement current important projects for the region - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [oil pipeline] and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum [gas pipeline] with Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway connection project,” he stated.
He invited the Georgian President to participate in a ceremony of loading first tanker in port of Ceyhan with Azeri oil transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline this summer.