Understanding and cooperation have shaped the friendly relations between Turkey and Croatia over the past 30 years, Turkish Ambassador to Zagreb Mustafa Babür Hızlan said, stressing that this approach has helped businesses and bilateral trade to prosper.
Bilateral trade volume between the countries has increased steadily, “except in 2020, when the pandemic hit,” Hızlan told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday.
The ambassador said the trading volume reached $890 million by the end of 2021.
Sharing a deep-rooted common history, Turkish-Croatian relations entered a new era when Croatia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia, Hızlan said, adding that Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Croatia when it officially recognized it on 6 February. 1992.
“Today, Croatia is an important country where we enjoy excellent political relations at the bilateral level, and as NATO allies we continue our cooperation to strengthen regional peace and stability,” he said. he said, adding that the countries are also collaborating on regional platforms such as the South-East European Cooperation Process and the Trilateral Consultative Mechanism with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The presence of Turkish investors in Croatia is also increasing, Hızlan said, noting that today around 45 Turkish companies are active in the Balkan country.
“There are significant Turkish investments in the tourism, construction, infrastructure, banking and renewable energy sectors,” he said.
Croatia’s first geothermal power plant, Velika Ciglena, was built by a Turkish company and is one of the examples of such investments, the Turkish diplomat said.
Hızlan added that a Turkish company is also carrying out the renewal of the Krizevci-Koprivnica-Botovo railway line, which is the most expensive infrastructure project in Croatia to date, and the construction of a second line.
Croatian Consul General in Istanbul Ivana Zerec also commented on the relations between the countries on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of bilateral relations, stressing that political, economic and diplomatic relations have gone well over the past 30 years.
Zerec also drew attention to the strong cooperation between Turkey and Croatia in multilateral forums such as NATO, the European Union and the United Nations.
Recalling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments on the $1 billion bilateral trade target during his visit to Zagreb in 2016, she said the potential for economic cooperation is quite high.
“There are Turkish investments in Croatia in different areas such as energy, hotel management, banking, finance, tourism, and we hope it will be even better in the future,” the Croatian diplomat said. .