Defense and trade to mark Turkish PM’s Asia visit

Defense and trade to mark Turkish PM’s Asia visit

Defense and trade to mark Turkish PM’s Asia visit

This October file photo shows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in an official ceremony in Ankara. DAILY NEWS photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has embarked on a six-day visit to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, where the focus will be on strengthening commercial ties with East Asian countries.

The prime minister flew to Japan from Istanbul yesterday, kicking of his first official oversea visit of the New Year, accompanied by a number of prominent government officials and bureaucrats, including recently seated Cabinet members.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, as well as new Cabinet appointees Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi and Transportation Minister Lütfi Akan are among government officials who will be escorting Erdoğan throughout his visit, which is planned to end on Jan. 11.

As part of the program planned to gather Japanese and Turkish parties to potentially establish new alliances, Erdoğan will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tomorrow, around two months after being together in Istanbul to celebrate the inauguration of the rail tunnel link Marmaray.

The leaders are expected to exchange opinions on a number of regional and global issues concerning individual states and bilateral relationship.

Following meeting with Abe, the Turkish prime minister is planned to deliver a speech at a conference organized by Japanese daily Nikkei and attend a Turkish-Japanese C-level manager’s forum.

He will also visit the center where Turkey’s national satellite TÜRKSAT 4A was manufactured and will be accepted by Japanese Emperor Akihito.

The development of an engine and transmission system for Turkey’s main battle tank, the Altay, by Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is also likely to be discussed during the visit.

Nikkei had reported Turkish Defense Minister Yılmaz as saying Turkey would like to see its next generation of combat tanks powered by the Japanese firm.

Turkey is developing the Altay main battle tank with South Korea and has been saying it is looking for a reliable engine for the program.

Trade ties’ enhancement

Japan and Turkey are also expected to strike a deal to establish an Istanbul-based science university, where Japanese engineers will share their nuclear power-related experience and knowledge.

In October, the two countries signed a $22 billion deal in May for the construction of a nuclear plant with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts, by a Japanese-French alliance of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and French firm Areva.

The prime minister will depart for Singapore, one of the few Asian pacific countries Turkey had a record trade surplus with on Jan. 9, and will meet with the president of the country, Tony Tan Keng Yam, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong there.

Erdoğan is also scheduled to pay a visit to Singapore’s container port, which is the second largest of the world.

For the final stop of his visit, Erodğan will visit Malaysia, continuing his top level meetings with the state head.

Along with Turkish and Malaysian businessmen who will seek new alliances, Erdoğan will participate at a joint business forum.