Turkey, Uzbekistan boost ties with $3bn deals

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent
AFP

Tashkent (AFP) – The leaders of Turkey and Uzbekistan on Monday signed deals worth $3 billion (2.5 billion euros), as the two countries seek to boost ties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined the “common values” shared by Ankara and Tashkent, during a three-day visit to the former Soviet Central Asian republic.

He said trade between the nations rose  by 30 percent to 1.5 billion dollars in 2017.

“Turkish businessmen plan to invest in Uzbekistan, which presents big opportunities for them,” Erdogan said at a joint press conference with his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the capital Tashkent.

The two leaders signed deals including on transport, energy and tourism “as part of more than 50 investment projects worth $3 billion dollars”, Mirziyoyev said in a statement released by his office.

Uzbekistan will also join the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, the two leaders said.

Erdogan’s last visit was in November 2016, shortly after the death of Uzbekistan’s first president, long-reigning Islam Karimov.

Karimov had been famously hostile towards other countries in the region, even threatening war with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over water disputes in 2012.

Tensions also simmered with Ankara, which Karimov accused of harbouring opponents of his government.

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