Hundreds of Indonesian nationals living in Turkey celebrated the country’s 74th Independence Day on Saturday.
Indonesia’s Peace Keeping Forces personnel deployed in Lebanon were special guests at an event hosted by the Indonesian Embassy in Ankara.
“Celebrations this year are very special,” Indonesian ambassador Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said. “Today, we are joined by our Indonesian peace keeping forces posted in Lebanon to celebrate the day.”
Indonesia declared its independence in 1945 from the Dutch forces. This year's theme for the celebrations is "advance Human Resource, advance Indonesia".
“Great Indonesia could be achieved only with great human resources and it will be our focus for next five years to enhance and build capacities of our human resource,” the Indonesian ambassador said.
A music band and artists performed at the venue.
An Indonesian student Adib Lutfi who traveled overnight from Istanbul said he was excited to be part of the celebrations while being thousands of miles away from home.
“Being in Turkey is an opportunity for Indonesian students to develop capacities and skills so that we could prove beneficial for our societies when we return to our country,” Lutfi said.
Angel, another Indonesia student who goes only by her first name, told Anadolu Agency that she came to Turkey in October last year.
“It is a home away from home as we have many Indonesian friends here," she said.
Turkish businessman awarded
Also at the event, Turkish businessman Tahir Nursacan was designated as honorary consul general in Kayseri province.
“We are glad that from now we will have someone in Kayseri to help us develop further bilateral relations between Indonesia and Turkey in all aspects,” he said.
Nursacan said: “Our aim is to continue activities of trade, agriculture and culture in a robust way. My focus is trade and education."
The Indonesian ambassador said that his country is home to nearly 275 million people while Turks are 80 million people. “The total population of our two countries is more than 300 million but the level of our bilateral trade is only $1.6 billion,” he said.
“That is why, it has been set by our leaders [to achieve $10 billion bilateral trade],” he added.
Iqbal said that the priority of the two countries is to finalize a trade agreement between the countries in the coming months.
“We hope to do so before [Turkish] President Erdogan visits Indonesia early next year,” he said.
Turkey and Indonesia are working to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) when Erdogan visits Jakarta early next year to boost bilateral trade to $10 billion as agreed during a meeting between Erdogan and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo on the sidelines of G20 summit in Japan in June.
At least 400 Indonesian soldiers are part of UN Interim Force in Lebanon to ensure Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
An Indonesian embassy official said that the country’s UN peace keeping forces personnel are deployed along with a navy ship in Beirut. “Mersin in Turkey is the nearest maritime place for them when it comes to logistics and other support,” he said.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.