KUALA LUMPUR, 4 July – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will start a four-day official visit to Turkey beginning Tuesday (5 July), Malaysia’s news agency Bernama reported.
According to Bernama, the visit comes amid a strive from both countries to strengthen their bilateral and economic ties and cooperation in aerospace and defence industries.
Malaysia’s ambassador to Turkey, Sazali Mustafa Kamal said that the visit held at the invitation of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will include a talk about post-pandemic cooperation between the two countries.
“The inaugural meeting of the two Islamic country leaders will definitely open more opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. Apart from bilateral cooperation, both leaders are also expected to discuss issues concerning Ukraine and food security,” he told a press conference with Malaysian journalists in Istanbul on Monday.
Ismail Sabri will meet the Turkish President at the presidential residence complex in the capital Ankara on 7 July, followed by a delegation meeting between the two counties.
During the visit, Ismail Sabri will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah; International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali; Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Adham Baba; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Abdul Latiff Ahmad; Air Force Chief General Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan, as well as Chief of Army General Zamrose Mohd Zain.
Upon his arrival at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), the premier will be given a briefing on the airport owned and managed by Malaysia Airports, whose involvement in ISGIA started in 2008 and has now become one of the landmark symbols of Malaysia-Turkey business relations.
The airport, one of two international airports serving Istanbul, is in the Asian part of the bi-continental Istanbul and is named after Sabiha Gokcen, the first female fighter pilot in the world.
“MAHB has invested about 500 million Euros in the Sabiha airport project and is looking at more such projects in the country,” he said on the airport, which is the second largest in Turkey and the world’s busiest single runway and terminal.
After the visit to the ISGIA, the Prime Minister will host a luncheon for Keluarga Malaysia residing in the country, before holding meetings with Turkish business communities, said the ambassador, adding that about 15 MoUs and Letter of Intent are expected to be signed during the visit.
Sazali said Turkiye is the third biggest trade partner in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia and UAE, with total trade between the two countries recorded at RM16.97bil (US$4.09bil) in 2021, and projects implemented valued at RM444.59mil (US$130.91mil).
In 2021, Malaysia exported more than US$1.06bil worth of palm oil and palm oil products to support the growing demand, particularly in the Turkish food industry, as well as the home and personal care industry.
Sazali said that on Wednesday (July 6), the premier will travel to the capital Ankara, where he is scheduled to visit the country’s two major players in defence and aerospace, respectively – MKE Corporation and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
Meanwhile, he said the opening of borders is also expected to revive the tourism industries between both countries after the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that 107,000 Malaysians visited the country in 2019, while 15,000 Turkish tourists went to Malaysia.
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1964. — Bernama