Turkey eyes more trade ties with Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday promised fellow Turkic nation Kyrgyzstan increased trade and help create an aviation hub, as he seeks to ramp up Ankara's influence across Central Asia.
Erdogan told his Kyrgyz counterpart Zhantoro Satybaldiyev on a visit to Bishkek that Turkey wanted to ramp up annual trade volumes with Kyrgyzstan from the current $90 million to $300 million and then $1 billion.
Meanwhile, Ankara also wanted to help turn Kyrgyzstan's Manas airport into an international hub using Turkish experience, Erdogan said.
"We are not just cooperating with Kyrgyzstan, we have one mood and common goals," said Erdogan, who will later meet Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev.
He is also due to discuss the disbursement of the $100 million credit Ankara agreed in 2012 to extend to Bishkek.
Turkey under Erdogan has strongly built up its influence in ex-Soviet Central Asia in the past years, in particular through construction contracts and aviation connections.
All the countries of ex-Soviet Central Asia have a majority of Turkic-language speakers, with the exception of Tajikistan whose official language is closely related to Persian.