Friday, July 31, 2015

Erdogan wants Turkey in ASEAN

By Ainur Romah  JAKARTA, Indonesia

ANADOLU AGENCY - 31 July 2015  

Indonesia president says honored at Erdogan's arrival in country, describes discussions as 'open and productive'

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told media during a three-day trip to Indonesia on Friday that he wanted Turkey to join his host country as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Speaking at a joint press conference in the capital with Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo, Erdogan said that as G20 members both Indonesia and Turkey needed to mutually benefit from such memberships.
"The Asia Pacific region is increasingly important in the world economy, and we want to boost cooperation. We also would like to be a member of the ASEAN," he added.
He invited Widodo to the G20 Leaders Summit in Turkey which will run Nov. 15-16, and highlighted the importance of MIKTA, (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, and Australia) and continuing negotiations.
"Turkish and Indonesian businessmen should visit each other's countries to discuss investment opportunities, as well as go together to third countries," Erdogan said.
In a statement released after the meeting, Widodo said that Indonesia was honored to host Erdogan and described discussions as "open and productive".
"We emphasized discussions in the area of economics. We agreed that trade barriers can be solved through a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), that we do not have. We are targeting [the completion of an FTA] this year," Jokowi said.
He said the two had also talked about cooperation in military maintenance, in boat manufacturing, and in the building of gas power plants.
"We aim to concrete that cooperation immediately," he said.
According to the statement published by, the two leaders also agreed to increase tourism and passenger transport from Turkey to Indonesia and vice versa, with a route planned between Turkey-Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta-Denpasar.
In addition, it said a joint commission would be set up to explore the economic potential of further cooperation between the two countries.
Erdogan, who touched down on Thursday night after a three-day trip to China, was accompanied by a delegation of Turkish business leaders and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu and Transport Minister Feridun Bilgin.
On Saturday -- the completion of Erdogan's official trip -- Cavusoglu will head to Malaysia for the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, which runs Aug. 1-3.
Prior to the Turkish party leaving, the two countries will participate in a Turkey-Indonesia Business Forum.
Established in 1967 in Bangkok, ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
According to Turkey's Foreign Ministry website, institutional relations between Turkey and the Southeast Asian grouping were initially established in 2010 when Turkey became a signatory of the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia "and thus the foundation of sectoral cooperation was laid down".
Since then Turkey's embassy in Jakarta has been accredited to ASEAN as a result of efforts put forward for appointing an ambassador to the association.
For Turkey to join ASEAN, admission criteria would have to change as under ASEAN Charter Article 6, Clause 2, headlined Admission of New Members, it states that membership should only be open to countries located in the "recognized geographical region of Southeast Asia".
Turkey is around 6,000 kilometers (3700 miles) from closest ASEAN member state Myanmar.
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Satuk Bugra Kutlugun contributed to this story from Ankara