Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkiye on March 13, 2023.
Türkiye and Mongolia on Monday agreed to further deepen bilateral relations and hold more frequent mutual visits.
"In today's meetings, we agreed to make more frequent mutual visits from now on," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a joint news conference with his Mongolian counterpart Batmunkh Battsetseg in Ankara.
Cavusoglu also noted that the visit is the first one at the foreign minister level from Mongolia for the last 31 years.
He thanked Mongolia and its people for the support and solidarity shown after last month's massive earthquakes in southern Türkiye, which have claimed the lives of more than 48,400 people.
"A 37-person search and rescue team from Mongolia rescued eight of our citizens from the wreckage in Hatay," Cavusoglu said.
The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Adiyaman, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.
On bilateral ties, the Turkish minister said: "We need to improve our bilateral relations by working harder in many areas."
"We previously set a target for our bilateral trade volume. At that time, we had a very symbolic trade volume target, we set it at $100 million. But last year we exceeded $100 million," he said as he urged to increase this new target to $500 million, considering the rate of increase.
Cavusoglu also noted that steps to take in the field of transportation must be considered while discussing the improvement of bilateral ties.
The "agreements on investments are out of date, we signed them long ago," Cavusoglu noted, saying the two countries will "celebrate the 55th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, so we need to review and update these agreements."
He further drew attention to the "serious potential in the mining and energy fields," and urged for the relations in the field of education and culture to be developed.
"We have proposed to expand our relations from comprehensive partnership to strategic partnership," said Cavusoglu, adding that they are waiting for the Mongolian side's response.
Prior to the news conference, the two countries signed agreements in three fields, including memoranda of understanding in the field of protocol and for cooperation in the field of halal quality infrastructure.
Another deal includes a memorandum of understanding between the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TUBITAK) and the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology.
Cavusoglu said the agreements will enhance the legal infrastructure of bilateral cooperation of Türkiye and Mongolia.
The Turkish minister further thanked Mongolia for the support given in the fight against terrorism, especially against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Türkiye.
Cavusoglu announced that there are no FETO affiliates remaining in Mongolia, according to the information given to Türkiye by Mongolian officials.
Citing Türkiye’s Asia Anew initiative, Cavusoglu said his country returned to Asia with a holistic approach as Türkiye is active in the region with over 1,000 solid projects.
He emphasized that Asia has become the power center of the economy and that politics and foreign policy is extremely active in this region.
Cavusoglu also noted Mongolia's important countries in Asia and pledged to further increase cooperation and relations.
"Mongolia also has a desire to be an observer to the Organization of Turkic States. In this sense, it deserves to obtain observer status both in terms of language and criteria. We will consider this issue later," he added.
For her part, Mongolia's Battsetseg said the two countries "are improving our relations, which have a historic background, by attaching more significance."
"We aim to raise our relations to the strategic partnership level," she said.
Hoping for relations to continue improving and increasing the frequency of mutual visits, Battsetseg noted: "We have to cooperate in major projects that will symbolize relations between the two countries."