DHAKA, Bangladesh

Turkey’s envoy in Dhaka said Sunday that his country wants to “substantially increase trade volume and investments” in Bangladesh.

Mustafa Osman Turan spoke during a courtesy call with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the latter’s official residence, Ganabhaban, in the capital of Dhaka.

Underlining fraternal ties between the two Muslim countries, Turan mentioned Turkey’s electronic and home appliances company Arcelik’s acquisition of its Bangladeshi counterpart, Singer Bangladesh.

“Turkish leading LPG company Aygaz’s has decided to invest $100 million in LPG filling and distribution business in Bangladesh’s southern port city Chittagong,” said Turan.

Pointing to the strong position of Turkey’s construction industry in the world ranking after China, Turan said: “Turkey’s competitive contracting companies have also expressed interest in mega infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.”

“In addition, Turkey is planning to build an [international standard] hospital in Dhaka,” he added.

Erdogan’s Bangladesh visit

During the meeting, Turan thanked Hasina for her invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to participate in programs for Bangladesh’s golden jubilee of independence and Mujib Borsho in commemoration of the 100th birth anniversary of the country’s founding leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in March.

Pointing to the global coronavirus pandemic, he said: “President Erdogan’s visit to Bangladesh is still under consideration due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,”

Turan congratulated Hasina for the “remarkable economic development Bangladesh has achieved under her leadership.”

“Bangladesh’s well-known resilience has been more visible in the face of multiple challenges such as COVID-19, Amphan cyclone and floods in 2020,” said Turan.

He also recalled Turkey’s solidarity with Bangladesh during these difficult times by sending medical and humanitarian assistance upon Erdogan’s instruction. 

Rohingya repatriation

During the meeting, Turan assured Hasina of Turkey’s continuing solidarity with Bangladesh regarding the Rohingya issue.

“The real solution lies in the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to home country Myanmar,” he said.

Pointing to the services of Turkey to the persecuted Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camps in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar, Turan said: “Turkey is operating a field hospital in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and provides humanitarian assistance through country’s TİKA, AFAD, Turkish Red Crescent and Türkiye Diyanet Foundation.”

Referring to Bangladesh’s relocation move of Rohingya refugees to a remote island in the southern sea, Bay of Bengal, amid concerns of international communities, Turan said: “Turkey will be one of the first countries to go to Bhashan Char [island] after a UN assessment mission to the island is conducted.”

Meanwhile, a statement by Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry on its official social media page said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her gratitude to the First Lady of Turkey for visiting the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar soon after the Myanmar nationals were forced to take shelter in Bangladesh”.

More than 1.1 million stateless Rohingya have been living in Bangladesh’s makeshift settlements. Most fled a brutal military crackdown in western Rakhine State in Myanmar in August 2017.

A genocide case against Myanmar authorities, including its military, is under the jurisdiction of the UN top court, the International Court of Justice.

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