Turkish president meets emperor of Japan
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who is currently in Japan, met Emperor Akihito on Thursday in a visit that is expected to open a new page to in the economic, tourism and investment potential between the two countries. (UPDATED)
Gul reminded that Turkey declared 2010 "Japan Year" and once again extended an invitation to Emperor Akihito to visit Turkey, who said he would convey the invitation to the Japanese government.
Japanese Emperor Akihito said Japan became modern by clinging to its traditions, and Turkey was doing the same thing. Akihito added that his country was closely following Turkey's opening policy to Africa as well as its influence on Africa.
The two leaders discussed cultural and historical issues as well as economic matters.
Following the meeting, the imperial couple hosted a luncheon in honor of Gul and his wife, who accompanied him on his visit. Turkish Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek, State Minister Kursad Tuzmen, Prince of Japan Mikasa and other high level Turkish and Japanese diplomats attended the function.
The visit is the first of a Turkish president to Japan, and is expected to open a new page to in the economic, tourism and investment potential between the two countries.
Today's Turkey is attractive for Japanese corporations and investors, Gul said on Thursday at the Turkish-Japanese Business Forum in Tokyo, adding there is a great potential to promote relations between Turkey and Japan.
"Turkey made significant economic reforms, fulfilled the Maastricht criteria and no longer has high inflations," Gul said, and added Turkey was the world's 15th biggest economy based on its purchasing power.
"The present day Turkey is very attractive for Japanese investors. We believe Turkey needs to be rediscovered. Turkey is a bridge between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. We must increase our cooperation. I believe we can work together in privatizations and nuclear energy," Gul also said.
Accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen, this visit is also seen as an opportunity to make use of the actual economic potential between Turkey and Japan and to tell about investments available in Turkey. Turkey ranks 60th among the foreign investments of Japan.
A total of 170,000 Japanese tourists visit Turkey each year, and the trade volume between the two countries stood at $3.9 billion in 2007, according to Turkey's official statistics. Of that amount, $3.7 billion were Japanese exports to Turkey.
Japan also funds several infrastructure projects in Turkey, among them the Bosporus Rail Tube Crossing Project, a 3.3-kilometer (8.2-mile) metro tunnel, part of which will be underwater.