World

Erdogan holds talks in Serbia as Turkey hikes Balkan clout

Erdogan holds talks in Serbia as Turkey hikes Balkan clout

Today Erdogan will talk with his colleague Alexandar Vucic. We want to make big steps with Serbia, but also with the whole of the Balkans, in order to solve all the problems.

"This visit is meant to build up political ties between the two countries".

Speaking about the future cooperation, Erdoğan said Turkish businesspeople would play an important role in Serbia's future.

Erdogan was due to visit an Ottoman-era fortress in Belgrade later on Tuesday before traveling south on Wednesday to Novi Pazar, center of the Muslim-majority region of Sandzak that has witnessed large-scale emigration to Turkey since the wars of the 1990s. Erdogan said they should target $5 billion and signed deals with Vucic to expand a free trade agreement to include sunflower oil and beef.

Serbia and Turkey will in the future build better relations and their trade balance will exceed 1 billion US dollars by the end of this year, Vucic predicted.




The one-day visit by Erdogan was aimed at building co-operation between the Black Sea neighbours and included lengthy speeches, formal exchanges and pledges to improve cooperation between the two countries, reports Kyiv Post.

Erdogan was officially welcomed in front of the Palace of Serbia this morning, and then had a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic. The two leaders are also expected to attend the Turkey-Serbia Business Forum.

Erdogan said during Monday's visit to Kiev that Turkey will continue to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Focus on the discussions will be economic themes, energy projects and more specifically "Turkish Stream".

The Belgrade-based daily Blic is reporting on Tuesday that the visit will pass under unprecedented security measures, that will "put to shame" those that had been in place for the visits of top Russian and U.S. officials.


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