By Talha Ozturk
Turkey and Bosnia aspire to talk about trade between one another in terms of billions rather than millions of euros, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said Friday.
The minister spoke about the countries’ trade ambitions during a visit to Sarajevo, where he chaired a meeting of the Joint Economic Commission alongside Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Minister Mirko Sarovic.
“At today's meeting, we made a decision… that from now on we want to express the relationship between our countries not as millions but as billions, so I hope in 2019 we will reach the goal of 1 billion euros in terms of mutual trade,” Akdag said.
Akdag added that Ankara was particularly interested in the construction of a Sarajevo-Belgrade highway, which includes Turkish financing but has been delayed by disputes over the route.
“Turkey is paying great attention to two issues, the first one is the highway, to be built through public-private partnership,” he said.
“The route must be determined and put into operation as soon as possible.”
Akdag said the road would contribute greatly to Bosnia’s development and offered further Turkish assistance.
The second area of interest was helping Bosnia build hospitals on the public-private funding model used in Turkey.
Underlining Bosnia’s commitment to boosting trade, Sarovic said: “Our trade volume last year was $600 million and this year we expect it to be $700 million. We will continue working to reach $800 million in 2018 and $1 billion in 2019.”
Later Thursday, Akdag is due to meet Bakir Izzetbegovic, the Bosniak member of Bosnia's three-member Presidential Council.