Turkey and the Czech Republic signed three cooperation accords Tuesday and pledged to work towards boosting trade ties between the two NATO members during a visit here by Czech President Vaclav Havel.
"Our countries, which have made significant economic progress in recent years, have the potential to increase their economic and commercial cooperation," Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer said at a joint press conference with Havel.
"Both sides are determined to make efforts for this purpose and encourage private entrepreneurs," he added.
Havel for his part said he hoped a a forum he plans to hold with Turkish and Czech businessmen in Istanbul Thursday would prove a catalyst for these efforts.
The two presidents stressed the lack of political disputes between the two countries as well as their partnership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and parallel bids to join the European Union.
The Czech Republic, a candidate from ther first wave of countries seeking to join the 15-nation union, is already engaged in accession talks while Turkey was granted candidacy for EU membership in December last year.
"We are a little bit ahead of you and in accordance with agreements we will convey our experience on the EU to Turkey," Havel said.
Sezer and Havel's press conference followed the signing of three deals on customs cooperation, agriculture and cooperation in veterinary matters.
The Czech president was scheduled to travel to the western province of Izmir on Wednesday to visit tourist sites and then visit Istanbul, Turkey's commercial capital, to meet business leaders before he leaves Turkey.
Havel, the first Czech president to visit Turkey, was earlier forced to postpone the trip twice.
A planned tour in September last year was cancelled after a massive earthquake struck northwest Anatolia in August, killing almost 20,000 people.
The visit was rescheduled for March, but was once again postponed when Havel was hospitalized with severe bronchitis. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)