Erdogan calls for continued int’l trade amid pandemic

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Ankara, (Asian independent) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the continuation of “free, open, and rule-abiding” international trade and cargo transportation between countries would be vital for the flow of supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While addressing the summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) via teleconference on Friday, Erdogan said the measures, which were taken by individual countries to curb the spread of the virus, could negatively affect international trade, reports Xinhua news agency.

“For this reason, we should adopt the most practical solutions in the shortest time possible in areas such as transportation, customs, and border crossings by prioritizing the public health,” he noted.

The Turkish leader also said the world was facing a socio-economic crisis on a global scale because of the impacts of the pandemic.

In Erdogan’s view, the latest developments revealed the importance of strengthening the Middle Corridor, which begins in Turkey and passes through Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia before reaching China.

“We need to intensify our cooperation to take concrete steps in this transport corridor and ensure the developments of a contact-less foreign trade and multi-modal transport systems,” he said.

Erdogan noted that railway transportation, which is used as freight shipment between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, could be extended to Central Asia.

“In that regard, we are working to be able to carry an extra 3,500 tonnes of products per day through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (railway) line,” Erdogan said.

The summit brought together the leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan as well as Hungary which has observer status to discuss the ways of cooperation and exchange of views in the fight against the COVID-19, according to press reports.

The Turkic Council was founded by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization aiming to promote comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states.