Turkey and El Salvador on Thursday signed six agreements during an official visit by President Nayib Bukele to Ankara as both countries pledged to enhance their ties in several fields.
The agreements included a wide range of fields, among them economy, trade, defense, diplomacy and education.
Expressing his pleasure over the first presidential visit from El Salvador to Turkey, Erdoğan said: “I believe this historical visit will be a new turning point in Turkey-El Salvador relations.”
“The official inauguration of El Salvador's embassy in Ankara, which became operational last year, was made today by our foreign ministers. Hopefully, we will open our embassy in San Salvador as soon as possible,” he added.
Despite the pandemic, bilateral economic and commercial relations have made a serious leap in the last period, Erdoğan said.
“Our bilateral trade volume, which was over $27 million in 2020, has neared $50 million last year. This approximately 80% increase actually shows how great our potential is. So, we would like to increase this number to $100 million first and then to $500 million over the next five years. The Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement we signed today will be a significant instrument in this regard,” he added.
Pointing out that they also exchanged views on regional issues, especially in Central America, the Turkish president noted: “Our relations with the Latin America and Caribbean region constitute one of the main pillars of our multidimensional foreign policy. The number of (Turkey's) diplomatic missions in the region, which was merely six 15 years ago, has increased to 17 today.”
Bukele, for his part, thanked Erdoğan for the invitation and hospitality and said that El Salvador wants to be part of Turkey’s growth.
Bukele on Thursday visited Turkey to meet with Erdoğan and hold diplomatic talks. Bukele was joined by first lady Gabriela Rodriguez de Bukele and their daughter on the trip to boost mutual cooperation and investment in the Central American country.
In his first trip abroad this year, Bukele is expected to “strengthen relations with the country and seek cooperation and investment opportunities,” the El Salvador government said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that it had explored opportunities in El Salvador for Turkish firms to invest in, “specifically in energy and tourism.”
“Since the beginning of his administration, President Bukele has been committed to strengthening diplomatic relations with various countries, with the aim of seeking the welfare of Salvadorans,” the statement added.
Erdoğan on Wednesday also underlined the “great importance” attached to Bukele's visit to Ankara.
“Have a good trip,” Erdoğan said in response to a tweet by Bukele regarding his visit to Turkey.
“As Turkey, we will be very pleased to host you. We attach great importance to your visit, which we believe will strengthen our relations with El Salvador,” Erdoğan added.
Bukele is expected to meet with business leaders during the trip and will also visit Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish state.
El Salvador has an embassy in Ankara and Turkey has been considering a reciprocal move in the Central American country.