Kuwait PM’s Turkey visit to boost ties to new level

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

ANKARA: Kuwait Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah’s upcoming visit to Ankara today, will further cement bilateral relations and cooperation between Kuwait and Turkey. His Highness the Prime Minister, who would visit Turkey on September 13-16, would build upon three recent summits held between the leaders of Turkey and Kuwait: the first last March in Ankara and the next two in Kuwait in May and July this year.

His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak is to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Benali Yildirim on bilateral relations and regional developments, while Istanbul would host Turkey-Kuwait Economic Forum on Friday. Kuwait and Turkey established diplomatic relations in 1969 and embassies opened the following year. The two countries signed a land transportation agreement in 1970.

The two countries signed between 1975-1988 agreements on culture, air services, economic, technical and industrial cooperation, in addition to encouragement and protection of investments. Bilateral relations witnessed a new leap when late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited Ankara in November 1991 to thank Turkey for its support of Kuwait during the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion. Turkey considered Iraq’s seven-month occupation of Kuwait a violation of international law, voicing complete solidarity with Kuwait, stopping export of Iraqi oil on Turkish territories and joined the US-led international coalition that liberated Kuwait.

Bilaterial agreements
Kuwait supported the democratically-elected government in Turkey during the failed coup attempt in July 2016. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a message to Turkish President Recep Teyyip Erdogan to congratulate him on the success of the legitimate leadership and preservation of democracy. His Highness the Amir visited Turkey in 2008, during which the two countries signed agreements on economic, scientific, health and labor cooperation. Kuwait and Turkey, during His Highness the Amir’s 2013 visit, signed eight bilateral agreements. They covered aviation, higher education, scientific research, livestock, defense industries, military and diplomatic cooperation.

The two countries also sealed accords on preservation of environment and natural resources, sustainable development, development of industrial exports, custom, agriculture, media and maritime transport. The State of Kuwait has also been active in offering humanitarian aid for the Syrian refugees in Turkey. His Highness the Amir visited Istanbul in November 2009 to chair Kuwait’s delegation to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) standing committee on economic and trade cooperation.

His Highness the Amir also participated in the OIC summit in Istanbul in April 2016 and the international humanitarian summit in the same city last May. Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid three visits to Kuwait in 2009, 2011 and 2014. Current President Erdogan visited Kuwait in April 2015, and then last May to attend inauguration of Kuwait International Airport’s new terminal, executed by the Turkish Limak company.

Trade exchange between the two countries reached USD 1.287 billion in 2016. Turkish companies were executing USD 6.5 billion worth of projects in Kuwait, while Kuwait has USD 1.7 billion investments in Turkey. More Kuwaiti companies and individuals are investing in Turkey, prompting the Ankara government to waive visa on Kuwaiti citizens. At the parliamentary level, former speaker Cemil Cicek paid an official visit to Kuwait in January 2014, while Kuwait National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim visited Ankara in Feruary 2016.

Humanitarian need
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) began operations in Turkey in 1979, extending loans to build development projects in many sectors. KFAED offered, up until November 2009, 12 loans totaling 106 million Kuwaiti Dinars (KD) (USD 352 million). Kuwait also contributed to meet humanitarian need in Turkey, whether from citizens or Syrian refugees. The Gulf country offered USD 20 million to offer health and educational services for Syrian refugees. His Highness the Amir donated USD million to help alleviate suffering of victims of an earthquake that struck Turkey.
His Highness the Amir’s village was opened in the eastern city of Van, which was subjected to a devastating earthquake in 2011, killing 644 people and injuring 4,152 others while destroying 2,262 houses. Another village was built to house Syrian refugees in the southern city of Kilis. The Kuwaiti government and non-government organizations (NGOs) contributed heavily to assisting the Syrian refugees in Turkey, offering financial and material aid in order to ease their suffering. Kuwait hosted three international donor conferences to help the Syrian people, pledging a total of USD 7.5 billion, of them Kuwait contributed USD 1.3 billion. – KUNA

This article was published on 12/09/2017