ANKARA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived here Wednesday for a four-day official visit to Turkey.
The special aircraft carrying Dr Mahathir and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali touched down at the Esenboga International Airport at 7.45pm local time Wednesday (12.45am Thursday Malaysian time).
On hand to welcome him at the airport were Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Malaysian Ambassador to Turkey, Datuk Abd Razak Abdul Wahab from the Malaysian side, and Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank and Governor of Ankara Vasip Sahin from Turkey.
About 15 minutes later, a special aircraft bringing Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan also arrived at the same airport.
Both leaders then had a brief meeting at the VVIP room.
Dr Mahathir’s itinerary in Turkey comprises a long list of events, meetings and media interviews here and Istanbul, starting with a wreath laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, at Anitkabir here, on Thursday.
After that, Dr Mahathir will visit Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which is Turkey’s centre of technology in design, development, modernisation, manufacturing, integration and life cycle support of integrated aerospace systems, from fixed and rotary wing air platforms to UAVs and satellites.
Also on Thursday, Dr Mahathir will have a four-eyed meeting with Erdogan at the Presidential Complex here, followed by a Malaysia-Turkey delegation meeting.
After Ankara, Dr Mahathir will fly to Istanbul on Friday morning and the aircraft is scheduled to land at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is managed and administered by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. The Prime Minister will also tour the airport.
On the same day, the Prime Minister will attend a Captains of Industry Round Table discussion where some 35 major Turkish companies will be involved. Following that, he will attend a high-tea with the Malaysian diaspora in Turkey.
During the visit, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by three ministers namely Saifuddin, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking.
Dr Mahathir’s official visit to Turkey, which is at the invitation of the Turkish President, is to further enhance existing bilateral ties between Malaysia and Turkey. Diplomatic relations between both countries were established in 1964.
Turkey is an important economic partner for Malaysia. In 2018, total trade between the two countries stood at RM9.79 billion. Exports from Malaysia to Turkey totalled RM7.97 billion while imports from Turkey to Malaysia amounted to RM1.82 billion. - Bernama