NZ, Turkey likeminded on many issues, says Peters

Tuesday 29 April 2008, 12:44PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters


Foriegn Minister Winston Peters meets Turkish President Abdullah Gul
Foriegn Minister Winston Peters meets Turkish President Abdullah Gul Credit: Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand and Turkey share similar views on many regional and international issues, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said after calls on the Turkish government in Ankara today.

Mr Peters spent three and a half hours with his counterpart Ali Babacan, before meeting President Abdullah Gul, and Speaker Koksal Toptan.

“Today’s meetings clearly demonstrated the warmth of the relationship, which is now growing rapidly beyond a longstanding friendship based on our experiences at Gallipoli,” Mr Peters said.


“We welcome Turkey’s active and constructive role in the Middle East, and their desire to engage more closely in the Asia-Pacific region.


“There are a broad range of issues where we share common approaches, such as Afghanistan, where we both have substantial and long-term security and development commitments, and support for the Alliance of Civilisations initiative, which Turkey helped establish.


“New Zealand supports Turkey’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2009/10, as we believe they would bring a unique perspective, including on Middle East issues, as well as their aspirations for EU membership.


“In terms of the bilateral relationship, we discussed a recent stocktake which showed that while trade is underdeveloped, it has potential for real growth.


“We agreed that a Working Holiday Scheme would be of long-term benefit to both countries and should be finalised soon, as part of a broader push for New Zealand and Turkey to work more closely in a number of areas.


“For example, earlier this year we signed an agreement on education cooperation, and will soon begin negotiations on a Double Tax Agreement and an Air Services agreement. In the next month or so we also expect to sign an arrangement on technical agricultural matters,” Mr Peters said.


Tomorrow Mr Peters travels to Slovenia for six-monthly consultations with the European Union Presidency on Wednesday.