President Erdoğan: We see Serbia as a key country for peace and stability in the Balkans


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a speech at the Türkiye-Serbia Business Forum in Belgrade.

Expressing his joy to be visiting Serbia after a 3-year hiatus, President Erdoğan thanked his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić for his hospitality.


Noting that the extensive delegation accompanying him on his visit to Serbia indicates the importance Ankara attaches to cooperation with Belgrade, President Erdoğan said: “I hope the Türkiye-Serbia Business Forum may yield positive outcomes for our respective countries and for you the businesspeople. We have rooted historical and cultural ties with Serbia. We have co-habited these lands throughout centuries. Our ancient friendly ties play a significant role in taking our relations to a perfect level.”

President Erdoğan stated: “We see Serbia as a key country for peace and stability in the Balkans. We work in cooperation in order for peace and prosperity to prevail in the region.”

Noting that a robust economy is essential for stability and prosperity, President Erdoğan said: “Serbia maintained its growth with appropriate economic policies during and after the pandemic. A large number of investors come to the region because of Mr. Vučić’s visionary approach. We consider our economic and trade cooperation as the engine of our bilateral relations. Economic and trade relations not only strengthen the ties between states but also contribute to the atmosphere of stability and peace particularly in this region. In this regard, I congratulate DEİK and its Serbian Business Council, which act as the standard bearer of our business diplomacy.”


The bilateral trade with Serbia grows day by day, the President stressed. “Our trade volume last year neared 2 billion dollars, a record-breaking amount. In the first 8 months of 2022, we have reached a volume of 1 billion 568 million dollars. This year, we are trying to achieve 2.5 billion dollars. Inshallah, we will double this amount and reach 5 billion dollars, our shared target.”

“Not only our trade volume with Serbia but also Turkish enterprises’ investments that create employment in the country keep growing exponentially,” the President said. “Our investments in Serbia have increased from 1 million dollars to the level of 400 million dollars, making a surge so-to-speak over the last decade. The number of our companies in Serbian has exceeded 1.3 thousand. The number of our factories has reached 21. Halkbank Serbia has become one of the leading actors in the industry with its 37 branches. I would like to reiterate my gratitude to Mr. Vučić in your presence for never denying our investors operating in Serbia his support and for addressing their problems personally. I hope this strong support will increasingly continue in the period ahead. We, for our part, will continue to strongly support Serbia’s development moves.”

President Erdoğan continued his remarks as follows: “Contracting is another major area in which we can enhance our cooperation. Our contracting companies implement important projects in Serbia. Our companies have thus far undertaken 50 projects with a total business volume of 847 million dollars in various parts of the country. Let me underscore that 48 of these projects have been implemented in 2018 or later. Our contractors have completed large-scale airport, railway, highway and seaport projects that have a high added value all across the world. I believe we can further enhance our cooperation with Serbia in this area in the period ahead.”

Expressing his belief that Türkiye and Serbia have a significant potential in the areas of healthcare, energy, digitalization, informatics and information technologies as well, President Erdoğan stated that today’s business forum and agreements are aimed at advancing the existing cooperation.


“The revival of the tourism industry, which suffered immensely from the pandemic everywhere in the world, significantly contributes to both our economies and the ties between our peoples,” the President stated. “The mutual tourist numbers rise very fast. We expect the number of Serbian tourists visiting our country to exceed 300 thousand this year, a record-breaking figure. In return, over 150 thousand Turkish tourists will hopefully be visiting Serbia this year. These record high figures stem to a large extent from the presence of direct flights between the two countries and the diversification of destinations. Our flagship carrier Turkish Airlines’ subsidiary Anadolu Jet initiated last December direct flights between Ankara and Belgrade for the first time.”

Stressing that the agreement for travel by ID cards between the two countries will further increase mutual travels, President Erdoğan said: “We have taken the initial steps towards forming the sister-city relations between Bursa and Novi Pazar, Alanya and Novi Sad, and, Balıkesir and Niš. We expect the continuation of these favorable developments which strengthen the ties between our peoples.”


Describing the talks he and his Serbian counterpart have held today as productive, President Erdoğan said: “We have signed 7 agreements in the areas of travel by ID cards, mutual promotion and protection of investments, innovation in advanced technologies, digital state, fight against forest fires, media and communication, and radio and television. I witnessed once again during my visit that there is a very strong and mutual will for the advancement of the bilateral relations in every area. We by no means consider the level we have currently reached to be sufficient. We are now focused on further deepening our collaboration through joint efforts and obtaining concrete results.”

President Erdoğan concluded his remarks as follows: “Before concluding my remarks, I would like to remind the representatives of the Turkish and Serbian business communities accompanying us here now of one important issue: The unity of understanding we have achieved at the highest level with Serbia offers an unprecedented opportunity for all. It is in our hands to further consolidate our economic and trade cooperation, which is also supported by our shared history and common values. With President Mr. Vučić, my treasured friend, we are always ready to do our part. Our doors are wide open to Serbian enterprisers who are willing to invest in our country. Have no doubt that Serbian investors will find in Türkiye the sincere and secure environment the Turkish investors enjoy in Serbia.” 

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