World is facing socio-economic crisis due to COVID-19: Erdoğan
The world is facing a global socio-economic crisis due to the fatal novel coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, underlining the vital importance of the continued trade and cargo lines between the countries despite sealed borders at a videoconference with the leaders of the Turkic Council.
“We are facing a socio-economic crisis at a global scale due to the impacts of the pandemic,” Erdoğan told the leaders of the Turkic Council on April 10.
The conference has brought the leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan as well as Hungary together to discuss cooperation and exchange of views in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The Turkic Council said World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also joined the conference.
Describing the coronavirus as an “invisible enemy” against which all the world is struggling, including the members of the Turkic Council, Erdoğan recalled that measures taken by individual countries for curbing the spread of the outbreak has negatively affected the international trade.
“That’s why we should put pragmatic solutions into practice on customs and border crossings by taking care of public health,” he said. As the Turkish-Georgian border has been closed for land transportation, the access of Turkish trucks to Central Asian countries via Azerbaijan has been blocked.
“The continuation of the international trade and cargo in the framework of a free, open and rules-based understanding is vital for the sustainability of the supply chain. The measures we are taking at the national level in a way to favor each other, upon the recommendations of the WHO and the rules of the World Trade Organization, is essential for our solidarity,” he said.
Describing the route from Turkey to Central Asia via Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian Lake as an important transportation corridor, Erdoğan called on the leaders to cooperate for developing concrete steps to boost a contactless trade and multimode transportation.
“In that regard, the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway transportation being used by Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan could be extended to Central Asia by increasing the actual capacity up to 3,500 tons,” the president suggested.
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have important transit routes for the Turkish transporters, Erdoğan recalled and demanded facilitated procedures concerning quotas for transit documents, transit fees and driver visas.
After the conference, a joint communiqué was released highlighting the need for a global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and for a coordinated action to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on economies by keeping the trade channels open.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan on April 10 spoke over the phone with his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev where they discussed the fight against coronavirus.
The two leaders brainstormed ways to collaborate during the health crisis, bilateral relations and regional issues, according to Turkey's Communication Directorate.