Increasing Turkiye-Malaysia high-level, technical contacts a priority: Ambassador
29 Sep 2022
Turkiye’s ambassador to Malaysia Emir Salim Yuksel said increasing high-level and technical contacts between Turkiye and Malaysia in the coming period will be a priority during his stint here.
The diplomat, who took office in June, said it is crucial for Turkiye and Malaysia to maintain the momentum that both countries gained with the recent high-level visits.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob undertook his inaugural visit to Turkiye in July, while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah visited the country in August.
Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid an official visit to Malaysia in August.
“It is a fact that we already have strong political, economic, commercial and cultural relations and they are gaining momentum with recent official visits,“ he told Bernama in an interview recently.
Regarding the 15 official documents signed during Ismail Sabri’s visit, Yuksel said Turkiye do not see them as purely legal texts but as a testimony of a joint vision to operate and cooperate further.
“We are naturally following each and every item discussed during these very significant visits irrespective of their transformation into legal shape. We have already started planning and realising new technical visits from both sides,“ he said.
Yuksel noted that Turkiye is satisfied with the remarkable progress achieved by the two friendly nations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1964.
He opined that two major steps gave fresh impetus to the two countries’ relations – the first being the Strategic Cooperation in 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties; and the second one being the elevation to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ismail Sabri on July 7, 2022.
Additionally, he said Malaysia has a significant place in Turkiye’s “Asia Anew” policy, which is the country’s new approach to the region.
During his tenure, Yuksel said he will also focus on enhancing economic cooperation and expansion of bilateral trade and investments; strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fields of technology; security and defence industry cooperation through sustainable partnerships, exchange programmes of scholars and students and promoting tourism cooperation.
On education, he said another 21 Turkish scholarships will be offered to Malaysian students this year. To date, a total of 260 Malaysian students have benefited from the Turkiye scholarship programme.
“In line with Malaysia’s needs, we are ready to expand the scope of Turkish scholarships,“ he added.
Since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, Yuksel said Turkiye’s tourism sector is gaining pace with 34,011 Malaysians having visited the country this year until July.
However, he admitted that pre-pandemic figures were quite promising as over 114,000 Malaysians visited the country.
He said the frequency of Turkish Airlines’ direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul will be increased to 10 times a week from the prevailing seven times a week.
“I would also like to add that Istanbul is one of the most convenient hubs for international travellers.
“For instance, if you have a plan to travel to the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Central Asia or America, which are just hours away from Istanbul, just spend a few days in Istanbul and continue your trip with Turkish Airlines, which flies to 287 international destinations and 53 domestics in 129 countries,“ Yuksel said.