On the third and final day of his visit to Tbilisi, Turkish President Abdullah Gül held bilateral talks with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili and reiterated once again importance of “strategic partnership” between the two countries.
President Gül, who was referring to his Georgian counterpart as his “friend”, said that as “a partner” Georgia is an important country for Turkey. The two presidents spoke after the meeting in the presidential palace in Tbilisi for a joint press statement without taking questions.
“We respect Georgia’s territorial integrity… and we express our strong support towards Georgia’s NATO integration,” President Gül said.
“We as leaders of our countries have carried the existing solidarity between our countries and nations to the highest level. Our bilateral relations today have reached the level of strategic partnership,” President Gül said.
The Turkish President noted importance of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, which will link Azerbaijan with Turkey via Georgia. He said that 80% of construction works are completed.
According to Georgian Economy Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the railway is expected to be put into operation before the end of 2015.
“First of all we stressed with gratitude that Turkey supports Georgia in the most important issues – territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country, Euro-Atlantic integration of our country. We have firm support of our Turkish partners in these issues,” President Margvelashvili said, adding that Turkey pursues “clear-cut and right” position in respect of non-recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Today we once again highlighted significant transnational economic and infrastructure projects that are being implemented together with our Turkish and Azerbaijani partners,” the Georgian President said and pointed out that these issues were also discussed during a summit of presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in Tbilisi on May 6.
“We have noted efficient cooperation that is underway in economic, culture, military sectors,” Margvelashvili said. “We have stressed on our common vision about protection of cultural heritage and religious groups; it is very important that these interests are and will be protected with the same standards in Georgia and Turkey.”
“We have noted that cooperation between businesses, which is being deepening between our countries, is already taking very interesting shape and substance. A [joint Georgian-Turkish] business forum was held [in Tbilisi on May 6], which will be followed by concrete positive results,” Margvelashvili said, adding that Georgia looks at Turkey “with hope.”