By Bahattin Gonultas
Turkish industry's commodity demand is constantly growing, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, adding that the trade volume between his country and Chile will increase.
Speaking at a Turkey-Chile Business Forum in Santiago, Erdogan’s visit is part of a Latin American tour which opened an important strategic door into the region Monday.
Erdogan said the two countries were growing rapidly and their profile in the international arena was rising.
"These positive developments should be reflected in bilateral relations," Erdogan added.
Erdogan stressed that Chile was an important partner for Turkey.
"In that respect, we see this visit as a step at the right time. We can see that the people of two countries, which live far away from each other, meet along common cultural themes. In this respect, the acceptance of Turkish [TV] series in Chile pleased us."
Most of the world’s most lithium, an important ingredient in rechargeable batteries and is used in electric cars, is produced in Chile. The country is also major copper producer.
Erdogan noted that the number of tourists per year from Chile to Turkey was about 17,000.
"We will see some improvements in the near future on that with the opening of a non-stop flight between Istanbul and Santiago by Turkish Airlines which holds the title for the airline flying to the most destinations," Erdogan said.
The trade volume between Turkey and Chile, the first nation in Latin America to sign a free-trade deal with Turkey in 2011, amounted to around $417 million last year, a decrease from $562 million in 2014.
Erdogan said the trade volume could be increased to $1 billion in the short term. "All that matters is to believe and trust in each other," he said.
The two countries also signed a deal on more cooperation between their government aid agencies.
Erdogan will head to Peru on Tuesday -- becoming the first Turkish president to visit the country. He will travel to Ecuador on Wednesday.