Erdogan says Meskhetian Turks New Bridge Between Turkey and Georgia

ANKARA (Armenpress)–"The Meshkhetian Turks will constitute a new bridge of friendship and cooperation" between Turkey and Georgia, said Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan during a joint press conference following private meetings his Georgian counterpart Zurab Nogaideli.
"I would like to emphasize once again that Turkey may advocate projects that will assist the return of Meskhetian Turks to their homeland and ensure rapid development of the region." Erdogan remarked.
Underlining current efforts of the two countries to boost cooperation, Erdogan noted that cooperation already exists between Turkey and Georgia in the political, economic and cultural spheres.
Erdogan promised all out assistance for Georgia and reiterating his countries support for Georgia’s political unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty,
"Bilateral, regional as well as international matters have been discussed at the meeting," Erdogan said. "We have seen that we both have very similar views on many issues. Turkey supports a solution for the Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia problems through peaceful methods. We are pleased that a decision was made by the Georgian parliament upon Turkey’s initiatives, which will have Meskhetian Turks return to their homeland," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said talks were underway to conclude the legal basis necessary to improve bilateral economic and commercial relations.
"Free trade agreement is the most important of them all. The parties are ready for the cooperation apart from some articles. The other is an agreement to prevent double taxation. Turkey is ready to sign this agreement. Commercial relations between Turkey and Georgia will improve after the signing of these agreemen’s," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said Turkey was Georgia’s number one trade partner, and their mutual foreign trade volume had reached 1 billion USD.
"A new step, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line project, was made after Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum projects. Turkey concluded its works related to the projects within the borders of Georgia. Tender works are underway in the Turkish side. We want to lay the foundation soon. Georgia also expressed readiness to lay the foundation. Not only cargo shipment but also passenger transportation will be made," Erdogan added.
Georgian Prime Minister Nogaideli said Georgia always supported Turkey in its fight against terrorism and was ready to do its best to help Turkey.
Nogaideli noted that the agreement on the prevention of double taxation was ready for signing. He expressed hope that those two agreemen’s (free trade and prevention of double taxation) would both be signed during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kars railway project.
Nogaideli said the Kars railway line was almost like the new Silk Road and this project would not only connect three countries but also undertake an important role in the region from China to Western Europe. He added that the construction of the railway would start soon.
The Georgian Prime Minister said this railway line would be very important for people who are living along Turkish and Georgian borders because the trade would grow rapidly in the region.

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