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Erdogan : Turkey to work to increase trade volume with Tunisia  

Published the:  15/09/2011

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September 15, 2011 - TAP - Turkey will work to increase the volume of its trade with Tunisia, said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a news briefing after his meeting, on Thursday, with Caretaker Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi.
The Turkish PM stressed that his government will encourage Turkish investors to come to Tunisia and seek to boost bilateral co-operation in different fields, including military industry.
He described as "insufficient" the volume of trade exchanges between the two countries, which is about one billion dollars, expressing astonishment at the absence of a direct maritime line liking the two Mediterranean countries.
Mr. Erdogan voiced Turkey's readiness to make its tourist experience available to Tunisia, reminding that the chairman of the Turkish Tourism Union had visited Tunisia just after the Revolution to discuss ways to boost the Tunisia destination among Turkish tourists.
He said that Turkey "respects the Tunisian people's choice and will seek to establish excellent relations with Tunisia, whatever the outcome of the next elections will be".
"The Tunisian people, who made a revolution without bloodshed, is called upon to show to the world that democracy and Islam could go hand in hand, as it is the case in Turkey," underlined Mr. Erdogan.
In an answer to a question on relations between Turkey and Israel, Mr. Erdogan specified that these relations would not return to normal, as long as Israel did not offer apologies and pay compensations to the families of the Marmara ship's martyrs.
He recalled the arrangements that Turkey had made in this regard, laying emphasis on the fact that Turkey would ensure the protection of its flotilla and that Israel would not act as it pleases in the Middle East.
For his part, Mr. Beji Caïd Essebsi said that the co-operation relations binding Tunisia and Turkey would be boosted in political, economic and tourist fields.
He pointed out that he had discussed with the Turkish PM the theme of relation between State and religion, specifying that the two sides had insisted on the fact that "there is no contradiction between Islam and democracy".
He underscored concordance of views between the two countries regarding fight against extremism whatever its origin, considering that "the state of justice is the one that guarantees freedom of thought to all."
He also emphasised Tunisia's unwavering support to the Palestinian cause and to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, recalling that "Tunisia had been one of the first countries to support the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, since the adoption of Resolution 181 of United Nations General Assembly, in 1947".