11 June 2012
Relations between South and Turkey are set to be elevated to a higher level, after Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s working visit to Ankara culminated in the establishment of a bi-national commission between the two countries.
The commission, which will meet every two years, will be co-chaired by Motlanthe and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It will enhance co-operation between South Africa and Turkey in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, minerals, energy, education, tourism, sport and environment.
Motlanthe’s two-day visit, which ended on Friday, also focused on matters of defence and energy, according to the Presidency, with the two sides agreeing that a defence industry co-operation agreement would be signed in South Africa in September.
Work on another cooperation agreement, in renewable energy, energy efficiency and coal-to-liquid technologies, is at an advanced stage, and the agreement is likely to be signed in the near future, the Presidency said last week.
Total bilateral trade between South Africa and Turkey increased slightly to R7- billion in 2011.
South Africa’s major exports to Turkey comprise mineral products, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, chemical and allied products, vehicles, aircraft, iron and steel, organic chemicals, ores, slag and ash.
The Deputy President was accompanied on his trip by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim.