Cavusoglu opens Turkish embassy in Cambodia

Foreign minister makes first visit to kingdom

Cavusoglu opens Turkish embassy in Cambodia

By Lauren Crothers

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made his first official visit to Cambodia on Sunday to inaugurate the Turkish embassy in Phnom Penh and sign an agreement with his Cambodian counterpart.

The visit is the first of its kind, despite the two countries establishing diplomatic relations in 1970. The embassy opened in November but Turkish Ambassador Ilhan Tug said the countries had established excellent relations “over a very short period of time.”

He spoke of his gratitude at being chosen to represent Turkey in Cambodia – a position that echoes the footsteps of his father, who was once the Turkish envoy to neighboring Thailand.

Tug said he was pleased with “the desire and commitment of Turkey to develop and strengthen ties with Cambodia,” which he said was reciprocated by Cambodia.

Cavusoglu told guests and journalists that Turkey considered Cambodia “a prominent partner in this part of the world and it is our true friend.”

He added: “Turkey has always been a part of Asia. We share a past with Asia and we want to share a common future.”

Cavusoglu said Turkey had opened three new embassies in the region since 2012 and is now working on a plan to open one in Laos “so Turkey will be represented in all ASEAN countries.”

The minister also spoke of his desire to see Cambodia open an embassy in Turkish capital Ankara.

This was echoed by Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who said the new embassy in Phnom Penh would help strengthen Turkey’s relations not only with Cambodia but with all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The two ministers are set to hold talks at Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh on Monday, during which a new visa agreement will be signed, Turkish officials said.

The delegation will then travel to Thailand and Vietnam.

Recently Tug told The Anadolu Agency that bilateral trade had grown by $119 million over the past 10 years to $124 million. Both countries' aim is to reach $500 million by the end of 2020.

Last month, a joint economic commission was set up by Cambodian Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol and Turkey’s Minister for Science, Industry and Technology, Fikri Isik, with plans to set up a Turkish business council in Cambodia later this year.

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