SPEAKER of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey, Binali Yildirim has called for institution-to-institution cooperation with the National Assembly of Zambia to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Mr Yildirim said he was looking forward to undertaking reciprocal visits with his Zambian counterpart, Dr Patrick Matibini to share experiences and best practices.
“I think this is going to be another step for improving our relations. Of course we are ready to share our experience in the parliamentary system after switching from the parliamentary system to the Presidential system and the role of parliament is becoming more and more important,” Mr Yildirim said.
He made the remarks when Zambia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Dr Joseph Chilengi paid a courtesy call on him at his official residence in Ankara today.
Mr Yildirim also said the Zambia Parliamentary Friendship Group had been established in the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Bursa Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Atilla Odunc as its president.
He further pledged to expeditiously preside over ratification of the 12 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed between Zambia and Turkey to enhance bilateral trade relations between the two countries.
Mr Yildirim said Turkey was committed to increasing the trade volume with Zambia for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
“Regarding the agreements we signed in Lusaka during the recent visit of our President, His Excellency Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we also want them implemented and passed through Parliament to increase bilateral trade. So as Speaker of Parliament, I will be taking care to accelerate this process,” Mr Yildirim said
Turkey and Zambia signed 12 agreements during President Erdogan’s historic visit to Zambia on July 28, 2018.
The signed cooperation agreements cover the fields of agriculture, stockbreeding, fisheries, tourism, trade and investment, sports, forestry and diplomacy.
Mr Yildirim also said more needs to be done to increase the trade volume between Turkey and Zambia because the current low levels of trade do not reflect the potential of the two countries.
The trade volume between Zambia and Turkey currently stands at US$21.8 million with Turkey recording US$ 15.6 million in exports and US$5.2 million for Zambia.
“Discussions on the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement will start next October, I hope this will be concluded as soon as they reach an agreement,” Mr Yildirm said.
He also noted that relations between Zambia and Turkey have gained momentum with the recent reciprocal high-level visits between the two countries
Mr Yildirim said the warm relations that exist between the two countries have an enhancing impact on overall relations between Turkey and the entire African continent.
And Dr Chilengi said the 12 bilateral agreements signed between Zambia and Turkey will strengthen the existing warm relations between the two countries.
He also said Zambia wants to tap into Turkey’s experience in the country’s efforts to enhance its democracy.
“The Turkish Parliament is a reservoir of knowledge in parliamentary business with the First Ottoman Parliament having opened in 1877,” Dr Chilengi said.
He urged Mr Yildirim to visit Zambia and interact with his Zambian counterpart and MPs as parliamentary diplomacy can better be played by the two Speakers.
Dr Chilengi said this would go a long way to strengthen constitutionalism, rule of law and democracy in Zambia.