ANKARA: Turkey and India on Monday signed 11 agreements to enhance cooperation during a visit by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Ankara.
Mukherjee, the first Indian head of state to visit Turkey in 15 years, met with top Turkish officials, including President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkish and Indian officials signed the cooperation agreements after talks between Mukherjee and Gül. Most of the 11 agreements were between Turkish and Indian universities. Others were signed by the state broadcasters of Turkey and India, as well as the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and India’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Prior to the meeting with Gül, Mukherjee and the delegation accompanying him visited visit Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, on Monday morning.
The Indian president then traveled to the Çankaya presidential palace, where he was received by his Turkish counterpart at an official ceremony.
After the ceremony, Gül and Mukherjee had a tête-à-tête that was closed to the press. Meanwhile, the delegations of the two countries also had a meeting.
According to a statement released by the Presidency, in order to further enhance the ties between the two countries, 11 agreements were signed on Monday.
According to sources, during the meeting between Mukherjee and Turkish officials in Ankara, the overall situation of bilateral relations between Turkey and India and regional and global problems concerning both the countries were discussed.
Prior to his visit to Turkey, Mukherjee told Today’s Zaman that his visit highlights the importance that India gives to improving bilateral relations with Turkey, and that the two countries are committed to developing the partnership.
Mukherjee, who is visiting Turkey at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, Gül, hopes that the visit will give an impetus to all aspects of Indian-Turkish relations and that new areas of focus will be identified.
India and Turkey share common interests in ensuring peace and political stability in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The trade volume between the countries has tripled since Gül, who described India as “the country of opportunities,” visited India at the beginning of 2010. Cooperation at the diplomatic level seems also to have increased between the countries since Gül’s visit.