Indian President Mukherjee, Turkish President Gül meet in Ankara

Indian President Mukherjee, Turkish President Gül meet in Ankara

Indian President Mukherjee, Turkish President Gül meet in Ankara

The visit is the first by an Indian president to Turkey in the past 15 years. DHA photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Indian counterpart Pranab Mukharjee signed a series of bilateral agreements Oct.7, ranging from memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to cooperation protocols, in an effort to further diversify bilateral relations.

On the occasion of the first presidential level visit from New Delhi to Ankara after a 15-year long hiatus, Gül held a one-on-one meeting with Mukharjee at his presidential residence to exchange views at length on Turkish-Indian relations and the current regional and global developments concerning both countries.

MoUs were signed on issues of small businesses; archive-keeping; state television and radios; science and technology, as well as cooperation agreements between universities.

The Indian president was returning Gül’s visit which took place on Feb. 7-12, 2010; previously, the most recent visit by an Indian president to Turkey was in 1998. The agreements come at a time when bilateral relations between the countries have become visibly closer.

Ankara was the last stop for the Indian president during his visit to Turkey after having previously traveled to Istanbul and Cappadocia.

“Democracy in India started in 1947 by overcoming great responsibilities. There are similarities between Turkey and India. Both countries have overcome great hardships to this day. Our countries are ones that have reached a certain level of welfare. Our societies have arrived at a certain point in terms of security, in social and economic terms. Both governments are ones that put values at the forefront. Independence covers a long process and this process is gained in a difficult way,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying over the weekend as he received an honorary doctorate degree at Istanbul University.

During the past few years, ties between the two countries have witnessed a significant surge with an increasing number of mutual visits. In 2008, Turkey’s foreign minister, state minister for foreign trade and undersecretary for foreign ministry all paid separate visits, laying the ground for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit in the same year.

Following Gül’s 2010 visit, another high-level visit was paid by National Security Council (MGK) Secretary-General Ambassador Serdar Kılıç in January 2011 to New Delhi while Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also paid a visit in the same year.