Erdogan urges more cooperation among Black Sea states

Turkish president speaks at Istanbul event to mark 25th anniversary of Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation

Erdogan urges more cooperation among Black Sea states

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has highlighted the need to enhance the role of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in boosting the economic welfare of the people living in the region.

The Black Sea Economic Cooperation was formed on June 25, 1992, as a multilateral political and economic initiative aimed at peace, stability and prosperity in the region. It has 12 members, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Speaking at a ceremony in Istanbul to mark the 25th anniversary of the organization on Monday, Erdogan focused on the need for further cooperation among member states.

"We all together need to do more than we currently do for the Black Sea, which always gives us more than what it takes from us," he said.

"We may have political and even major problems among us. However, we should make sure that we keep our organization away from those problems, only then we will be able to work efficiently and, in fact, we should do even more," he said.

The president said the most important accomplishment of the organization was in bringing people and countries of the region together to meet their most pressing challenges.

"As member states, we may have different languages, cultures, political stances or economic levels. But at the end of the day, we have a common denominator that is the Black Sea, which brings us all together…," he said.

Erdogan underlined the need for the organization to be used as an instrument to solve problems by avoiding unfruitful political discussions.

He said workers in different parts of the Black Sea face common problems.

"The workers, who are working at the ports of Odessa, Novorossiysk, Varna, Constanta, Batumi, have common problems which are almost the same as those in Samsun, Trabzon and Zonguldak ports in Turkey," he said.

"If the tea producers in Rize of Turkey have a good season, likewise on the other side of the coast the tea producers in Sochi of Russia enjoy the same thing."

Erdogan called on all member countries to follow a shared objective of rendering the region as a geography of peace, stability and welfare.

"It is up to us, the member states, to make efforts to reinforce our cooperation under this umbrella. Here in Anatolia, we have a saying: a neighbor needs even the ash of another neighbor," he said.

He said the current trade and investment volume among member states had not met its potential yet.

"We need to work more on projects that will make a difference in the daily lives of our people such as The Black Sea Ring Highway project -- Turkey completed its part in that project 10 years ago," he said.

"If other countries complete similar projects then we will have an established transportation network that can bring our people together around the Black Sea," he added.

The president also spoke about steps taken by Turkey to remove visa barriers in recent years, and urged for more measures to promote visa-free travel.

Anadolu Agency is the official photographer at the event.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Mayıs 2017, 15:26