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Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Caps Landmark Official Visit to Türkiye

PHNOM PENH, May 31, 2024 – Deputy Prime Minister SOK Chenda Sophea, who also serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, wrapped up a two-day official visit to the Republic of Türkiye on May 29. This visit marked his first official trip beyond Asia.

A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued this morning detailed a series of productive talks. The Deputy Prime Minister engaged in in-depth discussions with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan FIDAN, and met with other Turkish dignitaries including Dr. Numan KURTULMUŞ, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly, and Cevdet YILMAZ, the Turkish Vice President. Additional meetings were held with Ömer BOLAT, Minister of Trade, Fahrettin ALTUN, Head of Media and Communications in the Turkish Presidency, Zafer SIRAKAYA, Vice Chairman and Foreign Affairs Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, and Serkan KAYALAR, President of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

The Deputy Prime Minister also visited Atatürk's Mausoleum to honor Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of Türkiye.

During his visits to Istanbul and Ankara, which also commemorated the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Türkiye, Deputy Prime Minister Sophea expressed profound gratitude for the exceptional hospitality provided. He highlighted the strong ties between the two nations, emphasizing efforts to bolster bilateral relations and expand cooperation across various sectors. The visit aimed to fulfill agreements made by the leaders of the two nations in 2018, with a particular focus on increasing bilateral trade to US$1 billion. Türkiye's support in sectors like human resource training, healthcare, and rural development was warmly acknowledged.

The political discussions confirmed a mutual satisfaction with the recent frequency of high-level exchanges, and both nations agreed to continue promoting interactions between their executive and legislative bodies. They celebrated the success of the Third Bilateral Consultations held earlier this year and looked forward to the next round scheduled to take place in Cambodia.

On economic matters, both parties recognized the need for direct flights to facilitate trade, investment, and tourism, with a commitment from Türkiye to encourage Turkish Airlines to initiate direct services to Cambodia. Potential future investments were identified in fields such as agro-industry, education, food processing, green energy, and tourism.

Deputy Prime Minister Sophea encouraged Turkish investors to consider Cambodia as a gateway to the Southeast Asian market, which includes over 650 million people and is underpinned by several regional and bilateral trade agreements such as AFTA, RCEP, and free-trade agreements with China and South Korea.

The discussions also touched on regional and international strategies, where both sides agreed that Türkiye’s Asia Anew Initiative aligns well with Cambodia's priorities under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They resolved to strengthen cooperation in regional and global forums and found common ground on addressing major international issues.

In Istanbul, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke at a business luncheon, showcasing investment opportunities in Cambodia and met with Turkish businesses interested in expanding to Cambodia. He also engaged with the local Cambodian community, including students.

The visit concluded in Ankara with the signing of five cooperation documents covering various sectors including halal accreditation, media and communications, higher education, and forestry.



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