By Lee Hana
President Moon Jae-in on June 23 held a phone summit with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on bilateral economic cooperation, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the peace process for the Korean Peninsula.
"During our telephone conversation in March, I explained the importance of indispensable exchanges among businesspeople and asked you to consider the issue. I am grateful to the Turkish Government for making exceptions to allow Korean businesspeople to enter despite border control measures," President Moon said.
President Moon also thanked President Erdogan for sending a video message to a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War's outbreak, saying, "On the occasion of this anniversary, I hold our friendship with Turkey in special regard as your country sent the fourth largest number of troops during the Korean War."
In a written briefing by Cheong Wa Dae Spokesperson Kang Min-seok, President Erdogan was quoted as saying "close economic cooperation between the two countries is necessary to respond to COVID-19 and prepare for the post-COVID-19 era" and "expressed his hope that Korea's investment in Turkey will increase further."
The Turkish leader also expressed hope for the expansion of bilateral economic cooperation, and asked President Moon to give consideration to both countries working closely together in the defense industry and shipbuilding.
President Moon hailed a bilateral free trade agreement signed in 2013 for contributing to promoting trade and investment between both countries. He also expressed the hope that a joint Korean-Turkish economic committee will hold a meeting as soon as possible on issues of mutual interest, further strengthening economic cooperation.
On North Korea's demolition of an inter-Korean liaison office in Gaeseong, President Erdogan expressed his unwavering support for Seoul and President Moon's peace process for the Korean Peninsula. He then asked his Korean counterpart to visit Turkey after the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control.
The 35-minute phone summit was arranged at the request of the Turkish president and began at 5 p.m. Korean Standard Time, Spokesperson Kang said.