Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said Bangladesh is keen to boost its relationship with Turkey for mutual benefits as it is deeply rooted in shared history, faith and traditions based on trust and confidence.
The Prime Minister said this while virtually opening Bangladesh’s Embassy complex in Ankara from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also spoke at the programme.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh attaches great importance to its relations with Turkey.
She recalled her visit to Ankara at the invitation of then Prime Minister and now President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 13, 2012 and said the formal diplomatic ties between the two countries began in 1974.
On behalf of the Bangladesh government and herself, Sheikh Hasina thanked the government and the people of Turkey for extending support to Bangladesh on various issues, including the Rohingya crisis.
“All the support you extended for (resolving) the Rohingya crisis, we also thank you for your support. I think it has been nearly three years [since the crisis broke out]. So, Rohingya people should go back to their own country. I feel Turkey can play a pivotal role in this regard,” she said.
About the COVID-19 crisis, the Prime Minister said the world is passing through a difficult time due to the pandemic as it has battered the health systems and the economies of most countries across the world.
In Bangladesh, she said, they have been able to successfully contain the spread of the virus. “At the same time our timely and appropriate measures and stimulus packages have also been able to minimise the disastrous effects of the deadly disease. We’ve so far announced a set of Covid-19 recovery packages worth 13.25 billion dollar equivalent to 4.03 percent of our GDP.”
The Prime Minister also commended Turkish leadership for its success in fighting the deadly pandemic and appreciated its initiative to dispatch medical supplies to different countries, including Bangladesh.
Hasina said Bangladesh is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. After showing some initial sluggishness for a month or two due to the pandemic, exports have started making a turnaround from July.
“…we’re overcoming the situation. The country’s foreign currency reserve now stands at a record 39.40 billion US dollars. We’re on the right path to graduate from LDC to a developing country,” she said.
Talking about the newly-built Embassy Complex, the Prime Minister said it took less than two years to complete the construction of the Embassy building with the help of the Turkish as well as Bangladesh authorities concerned. The distinct red-brick cladding on the Embassy complex would resonate for long the Bangladeshi architectural impression and heritage.
The spacious complex has all facilities along with a beautiful auditorium. It proudly hosts a Bust of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a Shahid Minar.
To achieve vision 2021 and 2041, she said, Bangladesh is set to expand its global outreach by establishing many more diplomatic offices.
“This permanent Embassy complex in Ankara is a testimony to the priority Bangladesh attaches to boost further its friendship with Turkey. The recently built Turkish Embassy building in Dhaka also demonstrates the same sentiment,” she said.
She hoped the formal opening of the Turkish Embassy building in Dhaka also would take place soon with the presence of President Erdogan during the ongoing Mujib Year.
“Please convey my invitation to the President and the First Lady,” Hasina requested the Turkish Foreign Minister.
She also thanked Turkey for repairing Bangladeshi Navy ship that was damaged in the recent blasts in Lebanon.