Bangladesh News Bangladesh - Turkey Relation

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Turkey will assign defense industry consultants to nine countries, considering the country’s priorities in the defense industry, according to a new decree published in the Official Gazette.

Accordingly, the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) was added to public institutions and organizations with foreign organizations.

The Presidency's overseas organization will carry out diplomatic activities in the country of duty along with the issues falling within the scope of the SSB.

It will follow, report and evaluate the developments in the defense industry and the relevant legislation in that country, and inform the Presidency of the results.

The overseas organization will represent the Presidency at bilateral and multilateral international meetings, follow up on the strategies and policies regarding the defense industry, and carry out export permits and licenses.

It will monitor approval and similar processes, and gather information about the tenders to be held.

The overseas organization that will explore opportunities for joint research and development (R&D), technology acquisition, product development, export to a third country and similar cooperation projects will contribute to the development and strengthening of communication and cooperation between the two countries' public and/or private institutions or organizations or companies.

It is also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the bilateral agreements, protocols, and memorandums of understanding signed between the country of duty and the defense industry will be liable for carrying out foreign affairs and transactions among the duties assigned to the SSB.


Within the scope of the regulation, Defense Industry Consultancy staff will be deployed in embassies in nine countries – Doha/Qatar, Islamabad/Pakistan, Brazil, Jakarta/Indonesia, Baku/Azerbaijan, Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, Muscat/Oman, Dhaka/Bangladesh, London/U.K.

 

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The overseas organization that will explore opportunities for joint research and development (R&D), technology acquisition, product development, export to a third country and similar cooperation projects will contribute to the development and strengthening of communication and cooperation between the two countries' public and/or private institutions or organizations or companies.

Hearing about this so much but saw very little progress. We need to work with them for aircraft and missile tech if we're serious about aircraft production. Hope the economic situation we're facing since Covid will improve soon.
 

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BD participated in EFES-2022 Exercise.

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Bangladesh and Turkey have considerable scope for reaping mutual trade benefits by deepening collaboration and cooperation.

The optimism was expressed when Ambassador of Turkey to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan paid a courtesy call on BGMEA President Faruque Hassan at the latter’s office in Gulshan, Dhaka on July 17.

BGMEA First Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam, Vice President Miran Ali, Directors Asif Ashraf, Barrister Vidiya Amrit Khan, Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on Foreign Mission Cell Shams Mahmud and Chair of BGMEA Standing Committee on ILO issue ANM Saifuddin were also present at the meeting.

They discussed various issues including potential areas for enhancing trade and investment between Bangladesh and Turkey.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said there are huge opportunities for Bangladesh and Turkey to complement each other on issues related to mutual interests, particularly in boosting the apparel and textile business in both countries.

Expressing the same view, Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan stressed the importance of making investments in joint ventures in the RMG and textile industries of both countries.

They also expressed interest in facilitating sharing of knowledge and expertise in the apparel and textile industry through collaboration between BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT) and leading Turkish fashion institutes.

Interactions between designers and technical experts through the exchange of faculties and students will help to develop knowledge and skills and benefit both countries, they opined.

 

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Trade and investments are on the top of the Turkish agenda in Bangladesh, Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan said on Thursday.

"It is a priority for us to increase our trade. In 2020, the overall trade volume [between Bangladesh and Türkiye] was around $850 million. Now it has passed the $1 billion threshold. We aim to increase it up to $2 billion in a couple of years," Turan told a discussion during a visit to The Business Standard offices.

"We are mainly exporting cotton, machineries and chemicals for the garments industries [in Bangladesh]. We are also exporting light machineries – not only for the garments industry but also for the agro-industry," he said.

Ambassador Turan said he recently attended an agro fair where more than 20 Turkish companies participated. "They provide turnkey solutions for flour mills, and also the silos for example," he said.

Citing the balanced trade relations between Dhaka and Ankara in terms of exports and imports, the ambassador said Türkiye imports around $150 million of RMG products from Bangladesh.

"But the item that we import the most is jute. We use it in the carpet industry. Jute is best for the back of the carpet. It is organic. It keeps [the carpet] stable on the floor.

"We buy annually around $300 million worth of jute from Bangladesh," the envoy said.

The discussion at the TBS office covered ranges of issues including Turkish relations with Russia as a Nato member, its warming ties with Israel, and the country's Gulen movement along with the trade relations between Bangladesh and Türkiye.

'Only Nato country that can have a dialogue with Russia'

On the question of how Ankara balances its relations with Nato and Russia, Ambassador Turan said, "We are a member of Nato and other international organisations. But that doesn't prevent us from pursuing our own national interests. Türkiye pursues an independent foreign policy.

"With this independent foreign policy, we talk with all countries including Russia, China, and Ukraine. A lot of people misunderstand our relations with Russia. But actually, our relations with Ukraine are equally strong. We support their territorial integrity."

He said, "We never accepted the annexation of Crimea. We have always expressed a strong opinion that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine have to be protected. That is the basis for a political settlement for us. We also do not apply the sanctions on the Russian Federation. So, this gives us an opportunity to be a mediator.

"Our relations with Russia don't hurt our relations with Nato because Türkiye is now the only Nato country that can have a dialogue with Russia. It is absolutely necessary."

On the food security threat that the world is grappling with, the ambassador said his country is hosting talks with Ukraine and Russia to get rid of a famine. They are trying to broker a deal so that Ukrainian grains can be exported uninterrupted to Africa and other parts of the world.

"Food security is threatening all of us…and there are risks of serious starvation in some countries. That is why our role as a mediator is very important. Food Security is just one aspect, but what we aim for [is to] broker a peace deal so that this unnecessary war can stop."

On the Russian claims that peace is only possible if the West stops sending weapons to Ukraine, the Turkish ambassador said, it is becoming a "chicken and egg situation."

"Because they are one that invaded and that is why the sanctions started. If they withdraw there will be no sanctions. That is the equilibrium. Putting the blame on the west for this is not very productive," he added.

Türkiye's 'interesting terrorist organisation' and Israel affairs

About the Gulen movement that the Turkish government held responsible for the failed coup of 15 July 2016, the ambassador said, "We call it Feto, that stands for Fethullah Terrorist Organisation. This organisation is a very interesting terrorist organisation."

"They hide themselves really well. They have a lot of schools, businesses, and media outlets. They portray themselves as peace-loving nice people. But in the background, this is a façade," Turan added.

In the aftermath of the coup in 2016, the Turkish government conducted a massive purge when they fired thousands of government employees for what they called their connection with the Gulen movement.

It is a movement led by Fetullah Gulen, an influential religious figure with whom the current Turkish President Erdogan also had friendly relations before.

On the question of Türkiye's warming relations with Israel, the ambassador cited that his country had always sought to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Since the Freedom Flotilla raids in 2010 when the Israeli forces killed several Turkish civilians, Ankara-Tel Aviv relations continued to deteriorate for several years.

However, the Turkish FM recently visited Israel when he said that Türkiye's warming relations with Israel help the Palestinian cause.

On the question of what Türkiye thinks other OIC members should do in regard to Israel, the ambassador said, "We expect the OIC countries to support the Palestinian cause to the full extent. What they will do with regard to Israel depends on their own foreign policy."

Türkiye's increasing trade interests in Bangladesh

Türkiye's defence industry has been progressing quite fast over the last few years. Ankara is now producing more than 80% of its domestic needs for defence equipment.

"That means we are also exporting a lot of defence equipment," Turan said. "Recently, Bangladesh has also become one of the countries that we are cooperating very closely in the defence industry.

"Türkiye does not attach political conditions to the defence industry. We signed a security agreement [with Bangladesh] last January. Our minister of interior visited Bangladesh. It is basically an agreement between the police to fight against terrorism," the envoy said.

Besides defence, the country is working on some other areas like pharmaceuticals and ICT for example.

"I visited Square Pharmaceuticals in Gazipur. They have a very good facility there. I heard from them that there was a delegation who came from Türkiye to see their facility. We haven't made big progress on that front yet…But I am quite hopeful because generic drugs will be more significant in the future as they are more affordable but equally effective."

Turan said that like Türkiye has Bangladesh-Türkiye Business Council in his country – which has signed an agreement with FBCCI to facilitate trade and investment through B2B meetings – they have also facilitated the formation of the Bangladesh-Turkey Business Forum in Dhaka where ten local companies and six Turkish are participating.

The forum will be chaired and co-chaired by Rubana Huq and Salahuddin Kasem Khan. The companies like Square, United, BSRM, Ispahani etc have participated in the forum.

Turkish companies see Bangladesh as a hub for doing business

"We have two big investments from Türkiye here – Aygaz and Arcelik," Ambassador Turan said. "Aygaz, an LPG company, is the biggest investor. They distribute LPG cylinders to households. They are working in Bangladesh with the United Group.

"Arcelik, on the other hand, is a household electronics and appliances company. They bought the majority shares of Singer Bangladesh around three years ago…They are the second most valuable brand in Türkiye. They are now expanding their business [in Bangladesh]," the envoy said. "This is really good for Bangladesh because two big Turkish companies [invested here]."

These two big Turkish companies are subsidiaries of the KOC group. It is the only Fortune 500 company in Türkiye that produces a whopping 8% of the entire Turkish GDP.

The envoy said these two big companies from the KOC Group investing in Bangladesh are a big indicator that Turkish companies see Bangladesh as a hub for doing business.

"Because before they invest somewhere they research the potential of the country…Bangladesh has a bright future because it is a young population, [it has] skilled workers, and a growing domestic market," Turan said.

Turkish companies will not only target the domestic market, Turan said, but also target the neighbouring countries using Bangladesh as a hub.

In the discussion at the TBS office, the envoy mentioned several other Turkish companies such as Turkish Airlines and LC Waikiki among others that have been growing their businesses in Bangladesh.

The envoy also mentioned the Turkish construction companies' growing interest in Bangladesh. "[Our construction companies] are doing a lot of business around the world in Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, Balkans and now they are slowly discovering the South Asian market. Since Bangladesh requires a lot of infrastructure for the economy to grow, they are becoming more and more interested in Bangladesh."

The Business Standard Editor Inam Ahmed, Executive Editor Sharier Khan, and Managing Editor Chowdhury Khaled Masood were present during the discussion.

 

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We are participating in the bidding process of Bangladesh Navy projects, like frigate and petrol vessels of the Coast Guard. Turkish companies are ready to build those ships and vessels in Bangladesh with the involvement of Bangladeshi engineers and technicians for the Coast Guard in Khulna Shipyard and Chittagong Dry Dock for the Navy. We are bidding for both projects. We are also with the Air Force for various projects.

 

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Eleven Bangladeshi and six Turkish companies have joined forces and decided to establish the Bangladesh-Turkey Business Forum (BTBF) at a meeting hosted by the Turkish Embassy in Dhaka, according to a press release issued on Friday.

The BTBF will solidify support for bilateral trade, investments and cultural encounters, and act as an advocacy platform promoting bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Turkey.

The BTBF Founding Members are BTBF Chairperson Rubana Huq – MD, Mohammadi Group and VC, AUW, BTBF Co-Chairperson Salahuddin Kasem Khan – chairman, EC of Board, AK Khan and Co Ltd, BTBF Deputy Chairperson Kazi Zahedul Hasan – founder and MD, Kazi Farms Group, BTBF Secretary General Ercüment Polat – CEO, United Aygaz LPG Ltd, Alihussain Akberali – chairman, BSRM, Anjan Chowdhury – key stakeholder, Square Group, Abul Khair Litu – chairman, Bengal Group Ltd and founder, Bengal Foundation, Enayetullah Khan – founder and MD, Cosmos Group, Mohamed Haniffa Mohamed Fairoz – CEO and MD, Singer Bangladesh Ltd, Moinuddin Hasan Rashid – chairman and MD, United Group, Mirza Salman Ispahani – chairman and MD, MM Ispahani Ltd, Sk Nasir Uddin – chairman, Akij Group, Emrah Karaca – country manager, Turkish Airlines in Bangladesh, Hakan Altınışık – director of Technology and Innovation, Arçelik, Mehmet Yıldız – administrative and financial specialist, NKY Architects and Engineers, Muhammed Çağrı Ünal – construction coordinator, EPİK Holding, and Özgür Türk – country director, LCWaikiki

Rubana Huq, following her election as BTBF chairperson, said: “May this forum strengthen bilateral ties, expedite connections and optimize potential. The business to business and people to people connect will surely offer more opportunities to explore at both our ends.”

BTBF will soon be legally constituted to perform its activities through its working groups on trade, investment and cultural activities.

A research and data cell will also be created within its secretariat to develop collaboration with experts and relevant institutions. Gender balance will be encouraged in the membership and leadership structure of BTBF.

Salahuddin Kasem Khan, as BTBF co-chairperson and honorary consul general of Turkey in Chittagong, stated: “The forum is significant as some of the oldest and largest corporations of Bangladesh and Turkey are represented. Since both are members of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, Bangladesh can evolve as a hub for Turkish companies in the Bay of Bengal region and Turkey for Bangladeshi companies in the EU and the Central Asian regions.”

Turkish ambassadors in Dhaka will be patrons of BTBF while honorary consul generals of Turkey in Bangladesh will be honorary members of the Executive Board.

Mustafa Osman Turan, ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Bangladesh, expressed his pleasure at the decision of the seventeen companies to unite their forces for the mutual benefit of both countries.

“From now on, there is a new powerful business platform which will rebrand Turkey in Bangladesh and Bangladesh in Turkey so that our people can get to know each other better and tap into their full potential through partnerships and joint projects,” Ambassador Turan told the founding members at their meeting.

A BTBF delegation is planning to visit Turkey in September to meet with the Turkish government and business representatives and to explore opportunities for collaboration.

 
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