Turkey to help Ukraine achieve peace and prosperity - Turkish Defense Minister

Turkey to help Ukraine achieve peace and prosperity - Turkish Defense MinisterUkraine's Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Turkish National Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz have discussed prospects of future cooperation between their countries, in particular, on defense and trade.

"I am glad that lately, we have seen a very good improvement of our bilateral cooperation, and I believe we are now laying down foundations for our deeper cooperation, be it political, economic or defense," Groysman was quoted by the Cabinet spokesperson as having said on Thursday.

Turkey is one of Ukraine's biggest partners, the two countries have great potential for more economic and energy cooperation, while their defense cooperation will help Ukraine increase its defensive capabilities, the Ukrainian premier said.

"My message is this: we deepen our relations, broaden trade, move towards a free trade area, and we are ready to further deepen our cooperation in all spheres," Groysman said.

For his part, Yilmaz said Turkey will continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to achieve peace and prosperity. "We see Ukraine as one of our most important partners in the region," he said.

Read also: Turkey wishes to increase number of tourists from Ukraine by over 40%

The Turkish defense minister noted the two countries' potential in developing defense-industrial cooperation and defense technologies. "The Black Sea does not separate; on the contrary, it unites our countries. Cooperation in this area will be useful, both for Turkey and for Ukraine," Yilmaz said.

The minister also backed the idea of the two countries completing talks over the free trade area before the end of 2016. This, too, will help increase Turkish investments in Ukraine, Yilmaz said.

Trade between Ukraine and Turkey in 2015 stood at $4 billion, he said. At the same time, there is a significant potential to increase it, said the Turkish minister, calling for measures to achieve high targets.
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