By Mehtap Yilmaz
Turkey and Kazakstan aimed at boosting their bilateral trade volume to $10 billion with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line set to work at full capacity, according to Mithat Yenigun, the vice president of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board.
Speaking at the Turkey-Kazakhstan Investment Forum on Wednesday, Yenigun said that the current bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Kazakhstan exceeded $2 billion.
He said that petroleum and petroleum oils, natural gas, metal ore and products, wheat and other agricultural products, as well as textile and garment materials, plastic and aluminum were among the main items mostly contributing to bilateral trade.
"According to data from the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB), Kazakhstan ranked fifth with a share of 6.4 percent in terms of the volume of projects that Turkish contractors carried out abroad," Yenigun said.
Yenigun, who is also TMB's chairman, said that the Turkish construction firms have undertaken more than 480 projects in Kazakhstan with a total value of $22.8 billion as of the end of 2017.
He also noted that Kazakhstan represented one of the biggest markets in the world with a population of approximately 200 million.
"Turkish firms in Kazakhstan are active in areas such as telecommunications, hotel management, food industry, banking and finance, airport management, energy, retail trade and production of cleaning supplies, and they employ about 15,000 Kazakh people," Yenigun said.
Mert Sari, the chairman of the Turkish-Kazakh Business Council, said that the Turkey-Kazakhstan Investment Forum will boost the cooperation between the two sister countries.
Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev to visit Turkey
According to Kazakh presidential sources, Kazakhstan's president will pay an official visit to Turkey on Thursday to participate in the 3rd High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting between Turkey and Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and hold talks with Turkish entrepreneurs, according to the Kazakh presidency's statement on Wednesday.
* Jeyhun Aliyev contributed to this story from Ankara