By Talha Ozturk
SARAJEVO, Bosnia Herzegovina
A senior Turkish minister has told Anadolu Agency Bosnia is the “heart of the Balkans” and its prosperity is key for the region’s stability.
Deputy Economy Minister Fatih Metin, who was attending the eighth Sarajevo Business Forum (SBF) in the Bosnian capital, said economic development was necessary for stability.
"Bosnia Herzegovina is the heart of the Balkans. Therefore, the political stability of the country can be achieved with strong economic infrastructure.
“That's why such events play a highly important role in political stability. Because a healthy, growing Bosnia means a healthy, growing Balkans," Metin said.
Turkey and Bosnia are planning to sign an expansion of their existing free trade agreement in the near future to cover service trade and public procurement.
This will allow a wider range of products to be imported and exported between the two countries.
Metin said foreign trade between Bosnia and Turkey was worth $160 million 10 years ago and had increased four times to reach $600 million but added Turkey wanted to see this rise to $2 billion.
"Two of the top 10 foreign investors in Bosnia Herzegovina are Turkish firms and we need to raise this number," he added.
Metin also said Turkey would financially help a project to develop a highway between Sarajevo and the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
Turkey has finished its share of the initial phase of the project and is waiting for an agreement between the Bosnian and Serbian governments.
The Sarajevo Business Forum has been held since 2010 in a collaborative effort by Bosna Bank International and Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.
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