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Bangladesh a rising star in South Asia: Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday lauded Bangladesh’s progress saying that the country has become a rising star in South Asia and sustainable development model for the entire world under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He made the remarks at a joint briefing with his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Padma after their bilateral talks.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said the Rohingya issue has become a huge burden for Bangladesh and assured Dhaka of Ankara’s continuous support to resolve the crisis.

He said the Rohingyas must return to their homeland in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner.

The Turkish Foreign Minister supported the efforts of Bangladesh government to give Rohingyas better living conditions by relocating them to Bhasan Char until the repatriation takes place.

He suggested the government of Bangladesh to work closely with the United Nations and its agencies in this regard.

Responding to a  question on burden sharing by the international community, the Turkish Foreign Minister said he sees the same problem here and the international community praises Bangladesh for their hospitality.

The Turkish Foreign Minister sought stronger support from the international community in terms of burden sharing not just appreciative words but concrete steps.

“But we don’t want to see only words,” he said emphasising visible action in terms of burden sharing.

On Rohingya relocation to Bhasan Char, the Turkish Foreign Minister said this is also in line with their proposal that they can build much better camps for the refugees.

But Turkey’s firm position is that the Rohingyas should be able to go back to their home. “Until they return, they deserve better living conditions.”

Earlier, Bangladesh and Turkish foreign ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues, including Rohingya situation, as the two countries are keen to open a new chapter in their relations with an emphasis on stronger trade and investment relations.

The two Foreign Ministers met briefly at the same venue prior to the bilateral meeting.

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday night.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen received Mevlut Cavusoglu at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan was also present.

The Turkish Foreign Minister started the day visiting Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on Wednesday morning where he paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Cavusoglu had a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before his meeting with Dr Momen.

Both the ministers will join the formal inauguration of the new Chancery Complex of the Turkish Embassy in Baridhara on the same day in the afternoon.

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The Turkish Foreign Minister is scheduled to leave Dhaka after that by a private jet.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister visited Turkey in September this year and joined the formal inauguration of newly-built Bangladesh Embassy in Ankara. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually joined the programme as the chief guest.

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan has recently said his country is eyeing increased investment in Bangladesh and a significant jump in bilateral trade as Bangladesh’s economy is growing fast.

“We see a Bangladesh which has a very bright future. Its economy is growing fast like ours. Turkish investors are keen to invest in Bangladesh as it offers attractive incentives for foreign investors,” he told UNB in an interview at his office.

A prominent Turkish company will initially invest US$ 100 million in LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) sector in Chattogram, Turan informed.

Improving trade between the two countries, boosting investment in Bangladesh, enhancing cultural and people-to- people ties are among his priorities on behalf of Turkey.

The bilateral trade volume between the two countries is now around US$ 1 billion annually and both countries believe there is a scope to increase it further.