Speeches & Statements

Address by President Saakashvili to the President of Turkey

I would like to welcome our friend, the President of the Republic of Turkey.

His visit is not only a formality, but a beginning of very important historic events.

We have significant achievements in bilateral relationships. The fact that after the beginning of 2006 the turnover between Georgia and Turkey has increased more than two-fold speaks for itself.

Today we have signed an agreement on free trade that means that not only the import increases from Turkey, but the export from Georgia to Turkey will further increase.

For instance, the export of citruses. After this agreement is ratified, next season the Georgian citrus will be exported to Turkey.

It happened so that the same day Russia stopped issuing visas to the Georgian citizens, Turkey abolished a visa regime for Georgians.

700 000 Georgians have crossed the Turkish border this year. This is an extremely important geopolitical change. We cooperate with Turkey in every aspect, including the cultural one. In the nearest months we will start the restoration of the Oshki cathedral in Turkey that will be followed by the full restoration of the Zarzma cathedral.

Since the Rose Revolution the Georgian government has restored more than 300 cultural and religious monuments on the Georgian territory. Now we start restoring the Georgian monuments on the Turkish territory that will be a symbol of cooperation, unity and intimacy of the two countries.

The Batumi airport, which is a joint Turkish-Georgian airport, fully operates. There are permanent flights from Istanbul and Batumi and the Batumi airport is becoming one of the most important regional airports.

In the near future a terminal will open in Khopa, which means that much more people will be coming from Turkey via Batumi. This will promote further development of economic relations.

We are also jointly working on the creation of Turkish-Georgian-Azerbaijani free trade and a single economic zone.

A new railway, a transparent border and joint use of airports mean that hundreds of thousand of employment opportunities will be created in the region.

I'm not afraid to say that in the near future hundreds of thousand work opportunities will be created while building the railway.

I would like to thank President Gl and the Prime Minister Erdogan for very bold and fast decisions, which would have taken decades in case of many European countries.

Quick finalization of a free trade agreement was the Foreign Minister's, and then Mr. Gl's initiative and many bureaucratic obstacles have been removed thanks to his personal involvement.

Dozens of new enterprises have opened with Turkish investments, for instance in the sewing business that employed thousands of Georgia's citizens. This is a wonderful example of a bilateral cooperation.

We are thankful for that positive role Turkey is playing for the resolution of conflicts in the region.

It was a result of our joint diplomatic effort that blood was not shed in Adjara and everything was solved peacefully.

We are grateful and appreciative to the Turkish government for issuing an official note on banning the investments in Abkhazia, from where people are expelled, and illegal purchase of property there.

This is a behavior of a real friend and a country that respects international law, norms of civilized behavior, and of a country that wants to resolve conflicts by peaceful means.

The progress is also noticeable in the transportation sphere.

When I became President of Georgia there were only four flights per week between Turkey and Georgia. Today there are ten flights from Tbilisi to Turkey, and seven from Batumi. Next year there will be 14 flights from Tbilisi and Batumi.

The number of passenger between Turkey and Georgia within four years of my presidency has increased ten-fold. However the major project is the building of this railway.

Today we inaugurated a project that, after it is finalized, would enable a person to sit on the train in Tbilisi and go to London via Istanbul.

A time when roads in the Black sea area were dilapidated and when many hours were needed to get to Istanbul from Tbilisi by bus, is over.

That was a terrible time.

In Turkey there is a highway from Istanbul to the Georgian border and, virtually, till Batumi, that means that a person who sits in the bus in the morning will get to Istanbul in the afternoon.

We are building a highway from Tbilisi to Batumi, whose Tbilisi-Igoeti section will open in the near future.

In one word, all these things are done for people and by the end of my second term I want to be the first passenger of Tbilisi-London fast train.

The cargo from China to Europe is delivered via trans-Siberia line, that means covering a very long distance.

After this project is realized they will be able to deliver the cargo to Europe via Kazakhstan, Caspian Sea, Georgia and the Bosporus.

I assure you that Akhalkalaki will no longer be a dead-end as it is today. Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki section will become a mega line of trade and movement.

After this project is finalized, the distance and bureaucracy will be decreased two-times.

Thus, Georgia is becoming a country we have always been dreaming about - a big trade commercial center where Georgian people would live in prosperity just because they are the citizens of this country, because they were born here and because their country became an important center of the world.

Of course everything is done for people and for their well-being. At the same time, all these would not have happened without the Turkish President, its government, our countries' friendship, unity, common vision and faith in better future.

I would like to thank you for all these.

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

Send link to the email
Captcha* Verification Code
2013 (7)
2012 (12)
2011 (12)
2010 (9)
2009 (11)
2008 (12)
2007 (11)
2006 (9)
2005 (11)
2004 (3)