New Delhi: The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee yesterday (May 1, 2017) received His Excellency Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of the Republic of Turkey and Mrs. Emine Erdogan at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in their honour.
Welcoming the President of Turkey on his first State Visit to India, the President recalled his visit to Turkey in October 2013. The President expressed confidence that President Erdogan’s State Visit will impart new impetus to bilateral co-operation between India and Turkey.
The President said terrorism is a major threat to our societies. India unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We believe that the international community should cooperate closely to address this menace. Collective, coordinated action by the international community against terrorism can no longer be postponed.
The President said he was happy to note that the bilateral trade turnover between India and Turkey has grown manifold during the last ten years. Presently it is at the level of about USD 5 billion. However, the potential is much more. Our business community and investors on both sides should actively work together to avail the current opportunities.
Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Pranab Mukherjee said the relationship between India and Turkey pre-dates the establishment of our diplomatic ties as two modern and independent nations. Down the centuries and through our shared history, it has evolved and deepened. The Turkish contribution to Indian art and architecture, our language, the political and military organizational structure that was developed in our country, some of our laws, our costumes, customs and cuisine, is substantial. Our spiritual and philosophical bonds have been forged by the greatest exponents of Sufism – Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, Yunus Emre, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khurso. The socio-religious legacy of these poet philosophers emphasised tolerance, universal brotherhood and humanism – timeless values – which are the key to peace and social harmony in present, turbulent times.
The President said India’s unambiguous support for Turkey during the Balkan War – and again during Turkey’s independence struggle, demonstrate the depth of friendship and sympathy shared by our peoples at defining moments in our history. We all remember the mission of Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari to Turkey in 1912 which he undertook to render medical assistance during the Balkan War. Our national leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Jawaharlal Nehru had empathized, without reservation, with Turkey’s leaders as they fought for the freedom of their country from foreign rule.
The President said today, as two emerging economies in a globalised world, we both seek to enhance our economic co-operation to avail the current opportunities and build on our complementarities for our mutual benefit. India’s recent economic reforms and flagship initiatives have made us an attractive business destination. India welcomes Turkish companies to invest in India – especially in the infrastructure sector where they have exceptional expertise. Equally, we encourage Indian companies to explore prospects in Turkey.