Zillur seeks Turkish help in shipbuilding.
President Md Zillur Rahman yesterday sought Turkey's assistance in the areas of river dredging, energy, shipbuilding, information technology, tourism and agro-based industries in Bangladesh.
"We welcome Turkey's cooperation and assistance in the areas of river dredging, energy and ICT to help Bangladesh materialise our development programmes," Zillur said at a banquet hosted at Bangabhaban in honour of visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gül.
Earlier, at a joint press briefing after his official talks with Zillur, Gül said the trade volume between Bangladesh and Turkey is about $600 million, which can be raised to the mark of $1 billion by expanding trade and investment.
At the banquet, Zillur emphasised concerted efforts to enhance cooperation for mutual benefits of the two countries. He said Turkey may import world class pharmaceutical, jute, leather and garment products from Bangladesh at competitive prices.
"We can face the challenges of the millennium, forging close cooperation, sharing and harnessing each other's experiences and expertise," he told the banquet.
In his speech, Turkish President Abdullah Gül appreciated the targets Bangladesh government has set to achieve by 2021. "We will continue to stand by our Bangladeshi sisters and brothers," he said.
Gül said the present level of economic and commercial relations between Bangladesh and Turkey are unfortunately far from reflecting the potentials of the two countries and their people.
"We cannot approach our desired targets through a trade mechanism based on just a few items," he said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, cabinet members, political leaders, ambassadors, businessmen, and high civil and military officials attended the banquet.
At the joint press briefing, Gül said he was being accompanied by about 100 businessmen and investors as well as members of Turkish parliament, which manifests the importance of his visit to Bangladesh.
"We also have very good relations in the political front, also we support each other in the international platforms. Our cooperation in military field as well as our cooperation culturally is very strong. But I believe we can further grow and strengthen those existing good relations," said Gül.
He said he would soon direct the Turkish airlines to link Dhaka with Turkey with direct flights.
Describing Turkey's relations with Bangladesh as historic having the same values and culture, Gül recalled that many people in Bangladesh know the name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Welcoming the Turkish president and his delegation, Zillur mentioned that the bilateral relation between the two countries is excellent and Gül's visit would further strengthen and deepen that relation.
"We share common history, values, traditions, faith and culture. Both of our people are freedom-loving and have deep commitment towards democracy and other liberal ethos," Zillur told the briefing.
He said during their talks they emphasised trade and investment. "Turkish importers and investors have been invited to explore different sectors in textile and apparel, energy, ship-building heavy machineries, telecommunications, petrochemical, tourism and agro-based industries, pharmaceutical and ICT."
The Bangladesh president said the bilateral trade volume between the countries in August 2009 was $517 million. "I believe this volume would be increased if our trade is promoted," he added.
"Our country is the most vulnerable in the world as we have an adverse impacts of global warming. We need support and cooperation from Turkey in this regard," Zillur said and added, "I look forward to working with Turkey to expand our bilateral relation for the well-being and prosperity of the two countries and their people."
Earlier, a red carpet reception was accorded to Abdullah Gül as he arrived at the Zia International Airport around 2.30pm by a special aircraft of Turkish Airlines on a two-day state visit.
President Zillur Rahman welcomed the Turkish president and his spouse Hayrünnisa Gül at the airport.
A smartly turned out contingent comprising members of army, navy and air force gave a guard of honour to the visiting president. From the airport, the Turkish president went to Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel where he was going to stay.
Gül paid homage to 1971 Liberation War martyrs at the National Mausoleum in the afternoon. He stood in solemn silence for some time and placed a wreath at the mausoleum.
He planted a Bakul sapling on the mausoleum premises and signed the visitor's book.
Gül is visiting Dhaka at the invitation of Zillur Rahman. This is the first trip of any head of states to Bangladesh since the Awami League-led government assumed power in January 2009.
Gül is accompanied by a 180-member delegation comprising several ministers, parliamentarians, mayors and business people.
He is scheduled to attend a breakfast meeting today to be hosted by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) president Annisul Huq at Hotel Sonargaon.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will hold separate meetings with the Turkish president at his hotel suit today. The premier will host a lunch in his honour at Hotel Sonargaon.
He will attend a special convocation arranged at Nawab Ali Senate Hall of Dhaka University, where the university will award him an honorary Doctorate of Laws. He is scheduled to leave Dhaka at 6:00pm today.