Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived on May 31 in Georgia’s Black Sea town of Batumi.
The Turkish PM and President Saakashvili inaugurated a modernized border crossing point between the two countries in Sarpi.
President Saakashvili said in his remarks at the ceremony in Sarpi that PM Erdogan was his “personal friend and a friend of Georgia.” He hailed the Turkish PM as “a man of his word”, who had kept all of his pledges in respect of Georgia from launch of joint airport in Batumi to visa-free travel between the two countries.
Saakashvili also said that the two countries have significantly deepened political cooperation with Georgia “having support of Turkey on the international arena.”
Turkish PM Erdogan said at the ceremony in Sarpi: “Turkey has always stood beside Georgia, because Turkey is not only a neighbor but it is Georgia’s friend.”
On May 31 on the sideline of the ceremony in Sarpi Turkey and Georgia signed an agreement to further ease border crossing procedures for the citizens of the two countries. According to PM Erdogan citizens of the two countries will be able to cross the border with only their personal ID cards.
The Turkish PM also said at the ceremony in Sarpi that the modernized border crossing point would “ease crossing the border from the both sides.”
On May 15 when President Saakashvili visited Sarpi to see construction works at the time ongoing on the border crossing point, the Georgian President said that on the Georgian side there were more lanes at the border crossing infrastructure than on the Turkish side. “That bothers me,” Saakashvili said, adding that fewer lanes on the Turkish side might cause traffic jams.
“I want to raise this issue to have additional lanes on the Turkish side as well when the Turkish PM will be visiting [Georgia] later this month,” Saakashvili said on May 15.
Turkey is Georgia’s largest foreign trade partner with trade turnover of USD 1.1 billion in 2010.
According to the Georgian state statistics office, Geostat, Turkey was the sixth largest investor in terms of FDI in Georgia with USD 37.5 million in 2010.