Bahrain places great importance on its relations with Türkiye, said Bahrain’s deputy prime minister, praising Ankara for being a “role model.”
“The Kingdom of Bahrain highly values its relations with Turkey and we continue to welcome Turkey’s role and positive participations at the regional and international levels, becoming a role model in development,” Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa told Anadolu in an exclusive interview in the Turkish capital Ankara, where he came to attend last weekend’s swearing-in ceremony of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex.
“I am honored to be attending the inauguration ceremony of President Erdogan. The kingdom trusts that the two countries will continue to foster these bilateral relations and advance them towards broader horizons of cooperation and partnership,” he said.
Noting that diplomatic ties between Bahrain and Türkiye go back about a half-century, Al Khalifa said: “This solid and strong relationship is based on the values of mutual respect and understanding.”
Over 17 official visits have been held between Bahrain and Türkiye over the years, said Al Khalifa, adding that 38 agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed in various areas including education, and the military.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s two official visits to Türkiye show the country’s “commitment to further strengthen Bahraini-Turkish relations for the mutual benefit of both nations and their peoples,” he added.
On the “thriving” economic ties between Türkiye and Bahrain, Al-Khalifa said that bilateral trade totaled “almost $883 million between the two sides in 2022 – up 66% from the same period the year before.”
‘New historical phase’ for Türkiye
Calling Türkiye’s recent elections – in which Erdogan and his allies won resoundingly – a “new historical phase” for the country, Al-Khalifa said: “The Turkish people renewed their confidence in President Erdogan for a new presidential term.”
“The Kingdom of Bahrain affirms its eagerness to continue developing its distinguished relations with Turkey within the framework of joint cooperation, including work to increase the levels of trade exchanged between the two countries,” he added.
He went on to say: “As well as encouraging both countries’ business sectors to explore new investment prospects, we commend the efforts of the Turkish-Bahraini Business Council in further developing these relations.”
He said the tourism sector is another vital area to be further explored, saying: “The Kingdom of Bahrain regards this sector as a key contributor to non-Oil GDP growth, and has launched a tourism strategy for the years 2022-2026 as part of its post-pandemic economic recovery plan.”
He said Türkiye has become an ideal destination for both recreational and medical tourism.
As Al-Khalifa is also chairman of the country’s Ministerial Committee for Development Projects and Infrastructure, he expressed Bahrain’s willingness to focus on cooperation in the infrastructure sector, as well as exchanges of knowledge and experience in this field.