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AA 19/06/21: Turkey, Montenegro to 'stay shoulder to shoulder' as allies

Montenegrin foreign minister says Turkey 'very important partner' in economy, tourism, health, military, education.


Turkey is an ally and important partner for Montenegro, the country's foreign minister said before the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on Saturday.

Congratulating his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu for the "tremendous job in this Antalya Diplomacy Forum," Djordje Radulovic said: "I think that from now on, (the forum) is going to be a hallmark for the country."

"For us (Montenegro), Turkey is a friend, an ally, and a very important partner in many fields ranging from economy, tourism, health, military, as well as education," he said. "We'll be staying shoulder to shoulder, as we stayed in NATO alliance," Radulovic remarked.

Turkey and Montenegro have marked 15 years of the establishment of their diplomatic relations this year, Radulovic stressed, touching on the significance of the signing of a recent memorandum of understanding between two countries.

"This signing of this memorandum is once more mark of our true and genuine interest in friendship," he said.

"Our countries (should) stay shoulder to shoulder in the field of NATO. So, there is also solidarity, and we cannot thank enough Turkey for being a supporter of (Montenegro's) NATO membership," he continued.

Radulovic added that regional cooperation is one of the key foreign policy priorities for his country.

Recalling his recent meeting with Cavusoglu at the South East European Countries Cooperation Process, which brings together Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Moldova, and Montenegro, Radulovic said: "I have no doubt that our recent meeting also provided some kind of added value for the sake of the mutual benefits of both countries."

The two ministers discussed enhancing and fostering the regional cooperation between the two countries prior to the forum, and Radulovic added: "I have no doubt that we managed to sort out many things for the sake and for the benefits of our citizens and for the sake of forging posing closer ties between our countries."

Concerning the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, he said: "It is going to be another springboard for boosting cooperation between our two countries and international."

Stating that he is "very much pleased" to have been invited to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Radulovic said he believes Turkey and Montenegro will "forge even more friendly relations between the two countries and two nations."

He went on to thank Turkey for providing medical supplies and help during the pandemic.

"A friend indeed is a friend in need. And Turkey was our friend, really, when we needed the most, by providing us medical supply, although Turkey also was affected by the pandemic," he said.

He said that a "huge" Montenegrin diaspora currently lives in Turkey. "One-third of Montenegrin descendants live here in Turkey. And they are, of course, citizens to your country," he said. "These people are something that we know to connect us forever, and these kinds of ties are unbreakable."

Radulovic added that the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) "has done a tremendous job since 2007" with more than 300 development projects in Montenegro, adding that the contributions of such projects are "huge" for his country.

Speaking of the Yunus Emre Institute's activities, he said: "I strongly believe that culture is always a thing that brings nations together, regardless of the fact that Turkey and Montenegro are two nations, may be different in size, power, and economy, but still, what we nurture together is culture."

Mentioning the mutual economic goals of Turkey and Montenegro, Radulovic said: "There are many possibilities for exploring further communication and cooperation in the field of economy."

"Our goal is to reach €200 million ($237.28 million) turnover between our two countries as it used to be prior to the pandemic. Of course, our economy suffered due to the pandemic. But still, I believe, frankly, that we are on the right track. And just in the field, there are a lot of Turkish companies working and operating in Montenegro," he continued.

Noting that Montenegro aims to attract more investors, he said: "Economic diplomacy is something useful for every country if it wants to be recuperated from the pandemic."

"Turkish investors so far have been one of the most credible investors and we would like to see them more. Likewise, besides economy, tourism, and culture, we do have a lot of agreements in the pipeline," he added.

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