Posted on 27 January 2011
This week saw Turkey commence negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the Ukraine. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his opposite number in Kiev January 25th, to discuss free-trade and other ways of increasing ties including the potential for visa-free travel.
In the last 18-24 months Turkey has increased trade and ties with many countries, including the US, Brazil and Russia, and also signed visa-free travel deals with many more including Yemen Morocco, Iran, Syria, Libya, Russia and Portugal, although both the latter two are still in the process of being ratified and the deal with Portugal is only a partial one.
According to sources, the talks were focused on increasing cooperation on energy projects. Turkey is becoming an international centre for the development of alternative energy technologies. Many deals are already underway, including those with Ukranian companies, but Turkey is keen to grow the sector, and to decrease its dependence on other countries for its energy supplies.
Both the Ukraine and Turkey are EU hopefuls and both are supportive of the other’s accession. According to Turkey’s chief negotiator Turkey will be ready for accession by 2014, but it remains to be seen whether the EU will agree on how ready Turkey is at this stage.