By the Caribbean Journal staff
Turkey is planning to strengthen its ties with the Caribbean region.
The country announced its plans at a consultation and cooperation meeting with CARICOM earlier this month, held at Turkey’s invitation.
Turkey signaled its “clear and long-term engagement” to strengthen its ties with the region, from plans to open an embassy in the region to a proposal to establish a joint chancery “for the common use of CARICOM Members that would appoint Ambassadors to Ankara, to facilitate diplomatic representation in Turkey.”
Turkey is one of several countries in the Eastern Hemisphere looking to explore deeper ties with the Caribbean, from New Zealand, which recently opened its first High Commission in the Caribbean, to Morocco, which has been steadily stepping up its relationship with the region, particularly the Eastern Caribbean.
“We express our determination to work together and combine our efforts for sustainable development in the course of shaping the post-2015 development agenda,” CARICOM and Turkey said in a joint statement following the meeting. “We declare our readiness to further our political dialogue and expand our cooperation to other areas of mutual interest including trade, investment, transportation, education, scientific and technological exchange, tourism and development projects.”
Crucially, the two sides said they had also agreed to explore the possibilities of concluding a free trade agreement between CARICOM and Turkey.