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Ukraine and Turkey in “final stage” of Free Trade Agreement negotiations – Turkish ambassador

Ukraine and Turkey in “final stage” of Free Trade Agreement negotiations – Turkish ambassador
Article by: Victoria Dubiv and Tetiana Gaiduk
In the second part of his interview with Kyiv not Kiev, His Excellency Ambassador of Türkiye to Ukraine Mr. Yağmur Ahmet Güldere commented on the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries being in its final stage, Türkiye’s goals to implement large investment projects in Ukraine based on the public-private partnership mechanism, Russia banning its citizens from visiting Türkiye, and tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Türkiye

Mr Ambassador stated that Ukraine and Türkiye are now rebooting negotiations on FTA, and the agreement is in the final stage of deliberation. Keeping in mind the economic potentials of the two countries, it is expected that some difficulties concerning employment and workplaces will arise.

However, the Ambassador states, “It’s not about how much cake I will eat, or you will eat. It’s about making the cake bigger.”

During the most recent official visit of President Zelenskyy to Türkiye, it was decided to audit problematic issues to prepare a future agreement.

“Further liberalization of bilateral trade is important for us, and the signing of a Free Trade Agreement can significantly increase its volume. At the same time, we understand that this is a responsible step, and it should be taken following the national interests of each party,” said the President of Ukraine.

The Turkish President stated that the complementary character of the economies of the two countries is proven by the fact that despite the pandemic that affected even the largest world economies, the trade between them has not decreased. The presidents believe that the signing of the Free Trade Agreement will increase trade volume between Türkiye and Ukraine to $10 billion.

As to the opportunities for Turkish investors, Ukraine is considering such opportunities as large-scale privatization. The energy sector of the economy is also a very promising sphere for cooperation between two countries. An equally attractive area, collaboration in which could greatly assist Ukraine during an ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine, is the defence sector. The idea of joint production of aircraft was raised again during Presidents’ negotiations.

The Turkish Bayraktar Akıncı combat drone. Photo: Wikimedia commons

Recall that Ukrainian plants produce engines for Turkish “Akinci” combat drones.

On Turkish investments in Ukraine

In the Ambassador’s opinion, Ukraine is a big country with a developing economy, so Turkish investors see a bright future for their businesses here.

Mr Güldere emphasized, “That’s why we have about 4 billion dollars of Turkish investment in Ukraine.”

The Ambassador stated a few ideas about how Ukraine and Türkiye can improve investment growth: the first idea – projects based on public-private partnership mechanism.

PPP is an agreement between a government agency and a private company to implement projects related to public services or/and infrastructure. This mechanism allows governments more quickly create, build and implement large-scale projects such as roads, hospitals, bridges, etc.

Türkiye already has significant experience in this sphere: the country implemented hundreds of projects in medicine, energy, construction of roads, tunnels, airports and seaports. Türkiye has built integrated healthcare campuses (huge city hospitals) in big cities.

At the end of 2020, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal visited Ankara Şehir Hastanesi Hospital as part of an official visit to Türkiye. Ankara Şehir Hastanesi is the world’s third-largest city hospital, worth 890 million euros. Its construction was financed by eight Turkish and foreign banks. The hospital is designed to serve 30,000 patients daily. The parties agreed to co-operate on the study of Türkiye’s experience in implementing projects under the public-private partnership mechanism on the example of this hospital.

Shmyhal wrote about this on his Facebook: “Ukraine needs such modern medical institutions today, as a large part of the medical system is outdated. While reforming it, we must build hospitals according to new principles.”

Mr Güldere stated that Turkish investors negotiate with the Ukrainian government to implement such projects as huge city hospitals or other initiatives.

The second idea is creating organized industrial zones to promote the rise of Ukrainian cities to the level of “Anatolian tigers” — a name that refers to cities in Türkiye, whose industrial development have led to significant growth in the region and the country.

Organized industrial zones are special regions equipped with the necessary administrative, technical and social infrastructure so that residents could produce their goods, activities and services in absolutely favourable conditions.

So, the state provides businesses with investment environment reach on infrastructure and social facilities: roads, water, natural gas, electricity, communications, waste processing and other services.

On Russia banning its citizens from visiting Türkiye

Last month, Russia prohibited its citizens from traveling to Türkiye until June 1, explaining this by the aggravation of the situation with the spread of coronavirus infection. However, the decision was made shortly after President Zelenskyy’s visited Ankara to meet Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The President of Türkiye reiterated Türkiye’s unwavering decision not to recognize the annexation of Crimea and expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This Türkiye’s position makes Russia nervous, so it uses other levers of influence on the Turkish government.

The Ambassador sees this ban as an opportunity for Ukrainians.

“This may allow Ukrainians to spend longer holidays in Türkiye with better prices,” said Mr Güldere.

The Ambassador is sure that the decision to ban Russians to visit Türkiye will affect tourism in the country but not dramatically. In 2020 more than 1 million Ukrainians travelled to Türkiye for vacations despite the pandemic. This year, when Ankara improved safety measures, Türkiye expects even more tourists from Ukraine.

On tourism during the pandemic

Türkiye takes necessary measures to ensure that all safety precautions are observed while people are granted as much freedom as possible. In addition to vaccinating personnel working in the sphere of tourism, Ankara adopted special tourism certificates which include more than 150 criteria of safety, so each resort, hotel, restaurant etc., must meet these requirements.

These certificates are sets of advice about measures to ensure safe transportation and accommodation of foreign tourists in Türkiye. Mr Ambassador said that everything regarding safety in the time of pandemic is taken into consideration: plane, flight crew, buses, hotels, food serving, and even the distance between chaise lounges on the beach so that every tourist could feel a safe and welcoming atmosphere.

“Book now,” advised the Ambassador at the end of the interview to all Ukrainians planning on going to Türkiye this season.

Victoria Dubiv – Project Manager at TRUMAN Agency, Editor of KYIV NOT KIEV


Tetiana Gaiduk – Creative Services Director a TRUMAN Agency, Co-founder and co-host at KYIV NOT KIEV


Read the first part of the interview:

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