“We want to strengthen our solidarity with our Lebanese brothers and sisters”

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Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mikati of Lebanon, President Erdoğan said: “We see our Lebanese brothers’ and sisters’ problems as our own problems, their achievements as our own achievements. As Türkiye and the Turkish nation, we want to strengthen our cooperation and solidarity with our Lebanese brothers and sisters, with the entire Lebanese people.” 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon held a joint press conference following their meeting at the Presidential Complex.

Drawing attention to the long-standing historical, cultural and social ties between the two nations, President Erdoğan underlined that Türkiye saw Lebanon’s problems as its own problems, its achievements as its own achievements, and added: “As Türkiye and the Turkish nation, we want to strengthen our cooperation and solidarity with our Lebanese brothers and sisters, with the entire Lebanese people.”

“WE ARE READY TO SUPPORT THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT’S REFORM EFFORTS” 

Noting that he and Prime Minister Mikati discussed in detail the Türkiye-Lebanon relations during their meeting prior to the press conference, President Erdoğan said: “We focused on enhancing our cooperation. With my treasured friend, we discussed additional steps to contribute to Lebanon. As you know, I dispatched the Vice President and the Foreign Minister to Beirut in the immediate aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion to display solidarity with the Lebanese people. Likewise, Türkiye became the first country to rush to the aid of its Lebanese brothers and sisters with air ambulances following the explosion in Akkar last August. And we did so without discriminating among the Lebanese people.”

Underscoring that Türkiye, as it did in the past, would continue to stand with Lebanon in the future as a foul-weather friend, President Erdoğan stated: “I emphasized that we stood ready to lend support to the Lebanese government’s reform efforts. In this regard, I expressed our willingness to share our experience in public services’ digital transformation.”

The trade volume between Türkiye and Lebanon increased by 80 percent to reach 1.8 billion dollars in 2021 notwithstanding the pandemic, the President highlighted. “We, however, do not find it sufficient. We consulted on the steps that can be taken to boost that figure. In this regard, we attach great importance to the immediate entry into force of the free trade agreement dated 2010. We have also agreed to hold the Mixed Economic Commission meeting as soon as possible. I of the opinion that Turkish products are advantageous and attractive for the Lebanese market in many respects including price, quality and shipping cost. We, for our part, would like to diversify the products we import from Lebanon. I expressed our companies’ readiness to undertake major infrastructure projects in Lebanon including the reconstruction of the Beirut Port.”

“WE ARE DETERMINED TO INCREASINGLY CONTINUE OUR AID TO LEBANON” 

Pointing out that Türkiye implemented in Lebanon over 140 projects worth more than 34 million dollars in total since 2010 including TİKA’s Turkish Hospital in Sidon, President Erdoğan further stressed: “We are determined to increasingly continue our humanitarian and technical aid to Lebanon in the period ahead through the Turkish Red Crescent and other Turkish agencies and NGOs besides TİKA.”

President Erdoğan continued his remarks as follows: “We will maintain our contributions to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in line with the importance we attach to Lebanon’s security and stability. We are open to increased cooperation in tourism. The Turkish Airlines offers a 20 percent discount on all Beirut-bound flights between December 1 and February 28 in a bid to encourage tourists to visit Beirut. Works are also going on for a similar offer that would be valid till May. We carry on our solidarity in the area of education, too. Currently, around 2 thousand Lebanese students receive education at universities in Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Last year alone, 34 Lebanese students benefited from Türkiye Scholarships. We are ready to cooperate to further increase this number.”

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“We want to strengthen our solidarity with our Lebanese brothers and sisters”